It’s been a long, mostly boring winter. There was a flurry of excitement in December, but all of the major acquisitions came on the same day. Outside of that, it’s been a largely uneventful offseason for the Red Sox. That sort of came to an end when pitchers and catchers reported, and again when full workouts began last week. Well, here’s another official unofficial start to the season: Actual baseball games.
Now, this isn’t the start of their Grapefruit League schedule — that’ll come tomorrow — but they are going to put nine guys on the field wearing the same uniform and they’ll be playing a group of players from another team. In this case, that team is Northeastern University. It is a long tradition for Boston’s first spring game to involve a college team, although there is only one of these games this year. Typically, Boston College also participates, but they aren’t this year. I’m not sure why that is, but as a UMass grad who isn’t a big fan of BC, I’m okay with it.
Here is the starting lineup for today’s game against the Huskies.
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Mitch Moreland, 1B
- Chris Young, LF
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B
- Sam Travis, DH
- Marco Hernandez, 2B
- Rusney Castillo, CF
- Christian Vazquez, C
Starting Pitcher: Brian Johnson
This certainly isn’t going to be the Opening Day lineup -- spring training went horribly wrong if it is — but we get to see some potentially key players here. Obviously, Betts and Bogaerts are everyday guys, and Sandoval likely is too. We get both ends of the Moreland/Young platoon in one day. Travis wowed us in spring last year, and looks to repeat that coming off injury. Vazquez is obviously competing for playing time behind the plate while Castillo and Hernandez are fighting for a roster spot. Of course, these aren’t going to be the only position players to appear today. Jen McCaffrey has other players who will appear in the game.
Other position players: Devers, Sturgeon, Swihart, Butler, Craig, Dominguez, Lake, Marrero, Selsky, M. Miller, Witte, Bogusevic— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) February 23, 2017
With Brian Johnson on the mound, Farrell isn’t tipping his hand in the Opening Day starter competition nor the fight for the last two rotation slots. Although getting the start in this game seems mostly meaningless on the surface, it does mean a lot to Johnson. We won’t be able to glean much from this start, but just seeing him back on the mound feeling right is a positive. Right now, Johnson is scheduled to throw two innings with prospect Jamie Callahan coming in behind him. McCaffrey has the rest of the scheduled pitchers.
Other pitchers on the schedule today are Ysla, Drehoff, Shepherd, Walden, Maddox, Taylor and Buttrey.— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) February 23, 2017
We’ll have to wait until at least Sunday before we get a look at anyone who could potentially be in a healthy Opening Day rotation.
Today’s game starts at 1:05 PM ET. Unfortunately, while the game against BC is typically televised, this Northeastern game won’t be. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow along, though. The game will be broadcast on WEEI. It’s something! I’ll set up a gamethread closer to first pitch for everyone to follow along with.