Today's the day! The day Ben Cherington is named a genius or decried as a fool! The day Daniel Bard throws a 27 strikeout perfect game, or his arm falls off.
Okay, so it's not. No matter what happens today, all it will be is a good or bad sign in what is likely to be a rather longer saga--much longer if it's successful.
Bard has not been amazing in the spring buildup, to be sure, but he improved down the stretch, and now it's time to see the first real result where he's not working on anything, but just trying to get outs. Hopefully at least 18 of them. If nothing else, it's going to be interesting.
His Canadian counterpart for the day is another young pitcher looking to prove himself: Kyle Drabek. A key component of the Roy Halladay deal, Drabek failed to live up to expectations last year, finding himself demoted to the minors in the middle of the season. He'll have no good memories of the Red Sox, either, as they were the team that sent him there, pummeling him to the tune of eight runs in just four innings in his last game.
|BOSTON RED SOX||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||Yunel Escobar, SS|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Kelly Johnson|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||Jose Bautista, RF|
|David Ortiz, DH||Adam Lind, 1B|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||Edwin Encarnacion, DH|
|Ryan Sweeney, RF||Brett Lawrie, 3B|
|Cody Ross, LF||Eric Thames, LF|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||J.P. Arencibia, C|
|Nick Punto, SS||Colby Rasmus, RF|
Mike Aviles seems to have a mild ankle sprain after last night's game, prompting another start from Nick Punto. That should help Daniel Bard, if nothing else.