Seniority is supposed to come with certain priviliges in baseball. One of them being the right to avoid the long bus rides that take visiting teams to and from their away schedule in spring. With the schedule being short on home games this week, however, almost the entire starting lineup will make the 90 mile trip from Fort Myers to Bradenton to face the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Boston Red Sox (6-2)
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Hanley Ramirez, LF
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Blake Swihart, C
Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz
In fact, not only do we have most of the starters, we also have Blake Swihart behind the plate, perhaps providing a preview of things to come in the not-too-distant future. It's strange talking about Swihart as the exciting up-and-comer when defensive genius Christian Vazquez is set to start his first full season for the Red Sox, but fate has conspired to have both men reaching the majors at about the same time after the system went many years without producing a major league catcher, and top-20 prospects tend to steal the spotlight.
Otherwise it's business as usual. Mookie Betts, who seems to have locked in his spot as the team's road warrior, is absent today amusingly enough, probably because he's scheduled for all the other road games that are forcing the starters onto the bus today. That leaves Shane Victorino once again in the leadoff spot which he will likely cede to Betts when both are together, and the rest of the lineup 2-through-7 in the order we've come to expect.
First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. with the Pirates listing MLB.com as providing radio coverage. The Red Sox don't seem to agree, so you'll have to take Pittsburgh's word for it.