The Opening Day rotation is set...for now
On Wednesday, John Farrell came out and presented his plan for the starting rotation to start the season.
Tentative rotation plans for the #RedSox: Porcello, Sale, Rodriguez (Pirates), Wright, Porcello, Pomeranz and then back to Sale (Tigers).— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) March 29, 2017
We knew Rick Porcello was going to get the Opening Day start, so there’s no surprises there. Ditto for the number two spot, which was obviously going to go to Chris Sale. Eduardo Rodriguez getting the third start over Steven Wright was a little surprising at first, but likely has more to do with the latter’s slightly later start to the spring. Pomeranz is the last man in the rotation for now, and while the schedule allows them to push him back one day they’ll still need him to look good on Sunday against minor-league competition to feel confident throwing him out there. As I’ve mentioned before, this April isn’t as loaded with days off as past years for Boston, so they can’t roll with a four-man rotation for a few turns if they need to. If Pomeranz isn’t ready to go for whatever reason, the assumption is that Kyle Kendrick will get the call. He’s been the best this spring by far, it’ll just come down to whether or not they want to use him for a short stint since he’d have to be placed on waivers before being sent back down to Triple-A.
Problems at first base?
One of the stories that is gaining momentum over the last couple of days is that the Red Sox have some problems brewing at first base. This was sparked by Josh Rutledge’s injury, as he was supposed to be right-handed corner infield insurance. The thing is, I never really heard much about him playing first base. He was always more of third base insurance, at least in my eyes. I don’t understand the fretting here, is what I’m saying. Sure, it’s not great that Hanley Ramirez isn’t ready to play the field, but nothing that either him or the team has said leads me to believe this is a long-term issue. In the meantime, Mitch Moreland can play the position every day. It’s not ideal, but as a short-term fix it’s perfectly fine. As for a backup, he may not be right-handed but Brock Holt at least has some experience there. Also possible is that they put Steve Selsky on the Opening Day roster over Marco Hernandez because the former has experience there in the minors. Even that would be a minor mistake, in my opinion. They have Moreland and Holt for first base and Ramirez should be ready soon. If he’s not, then you can reevaluate in a couple of weeks.
Robby Scott will make the Opening Day roster
Before Tyler Thornburg’s injury was serious enough to delay the start of his season, the bullpen looked mostly set. The only question was whether or not Fernando Abad or Robby Scott would make it as the second lefty. I always assumed the former was going to make it unless he really fell apart in camp, but now it doesn’t matter. With Thornburg on the shelf, it appears the team is going to carry three lefties. This makes sense, as there isn’t really a righty who makes sense to start the year in Boston over Scott. Also, it’s not as if all the lefties are LOOGY’s. Robbie Ross, in particular, can pitch extremely well regardless of his opponent’s handedness. Hopefully this is only temporary and Thornburg won’t be out long, but in the meantime this is the right move.