We've got our first interesting shakeup of the year Saturday afternoon, as Rusney Castillo and Pablo Sandoval make their first starts of the season in place of Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Ortiz respectively.
|BOSTON RED SOX||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Mookie Betts, RF||Kevin Pillar, CF|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Josh Donaldson, DH|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS||Jose Bautista, RF|
|Travis Shaw, 1B||Edwin Encarnacion, 1B|
|Hanley Ramirez, DH||Troy Tulowitzki, SS|
|Pablo Sandoval, 3B||Ezequiel Carrera, LF|
|Brock Holt, LF||Ryan Goins, 2B|
|Rusney Castillo, CF||Darwin Barney, 3B|
|Blake Swihart, C||Josh Thole, C|
|Starting Pitcher -- Rick Porcello||Starting Pitcher -- RA Dickey|
With Castillo, this makes sense. When Rick Porcello is giving up fly balls, you're going to be in trouble anyways, Having him in center rather than moving Mookie Betts over seems a bit questionable, but if John Farrell wants to keep positions consistent, so be it.
On the infield, though, things get sketchier. There was reason to worry about Travis Shaw's defense at third base, but through the first three games of the season, he's kind of put on a show over there. Yes, because Ortiz is out, it means that they get his glove at first in place of Hanley, but Ramirez has looked just fine there, particularly when compared to Sandoval at third in 2015. This is certainly not Boston's best defensive infield, which is what you should probably be aiming for with Porcello looking to start off 2016 on the right foot.
Oh, and it would likely David Ortiz' bat in the lineup, which would be nice even against the wild card that is the knuckleball.
Of course, Porcello starting off on the right foot requires you to forget about a disastrous spring training. And it won't be hard to if he pitches well today! Spring means little-to-nothing, and Porcello has had terrible springs before, including before his career-best year in 2014. You just kind of wish the Red Sox would put him in the best possible position to succeed, since they could really use someone outside of David Price showing signs of life this first time through the rotation.
First pitch is at 1:07 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.