Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019 Red Sox Opening Day Lineup

In just a few hours, the Boston Red Sox's highly-anticipated 2019 regular season will officially begin with their game against the Seattle Mariners scheduled to start at 7:10 PM est.

At this point, every other team in Baseball has started their 2019 season besides the Red Sox. Even though they're opening on the west coast, I would've preferred a 4:00 PM start time like last year's Opening Day game against the Rays. 

For the 2nd year in a row, Boston's ace, Chris Sale, will start Opening Day just days after signing a 5-year extension with the Red Sox. Similarly, just like the 2018 opener, 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia will not be in the starting lineup, for he is starting the season on the injured list.

So far today, the Brewers have bested the Cardinals 5-4, the Yankees crushed the Orioles at home 7-2, and the Mets won a decisive pitcher's duel against the Nationals 2-0 thanks to Jacob DeGrom's 6 shutout innings with 10 K's. 

On Opening Day in 2018, I previewed Boston's starting lineup which, for the most part, is incredibly similar to what we'll see later today against Seattle. Besides Hanley Ramirez, all players from 2018 will be starting tonight; the only other thing that has changed is the order of the lineup.

In just over 2 hours, the reigning World Champions will take the field for their first game of 2019. In order to get a better understanding of their lineup, let's preview who will be starting for the Red Sox later today.

Batting 1st; LF Andrew Benintendi
Making his 3rd straight Opening Day start in left field, Andrew Benintendi was stellar in 2018, the best season of his young career. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Month for August, Benny hit .290 with 16 homers, 87 RBI, and most surprisingly, 21 stolen bases in 2018. Now, the 24-year old will be hitting leadoff until Dustin Pedroia returns at the earliest. 

Batting 2nd; RF Mookie Betts
Starting with his very first at-bat of the 2019 season, all eyes are going to be on the 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and for good reason. His 10.9 WAR during his MVP season remains incredibly impressive, likely part of the reason why he's surrendered the leadoff spot to Benintendi. Now, he can concentrate on boosting his RBI total after driving in 80 runs last season.

Batting 3rd; 3B Rafael Devers
After struggling with injuries and consistency across his first full MLB season, Rafael Devers is expected to have a breakout year in 2019. Every report that I've read states that Devers entered Spring Training looking and feeling much better. It'll be interesting to see if he fixes his biggest issues from last year, his batting average and defense. 

Batting 4th; DH J.D. Martinez
It's still surreal how J.D. Martinez can maintain a .330 batting average while also hitting 43 home runs, 130 RBI, and coming within striking distance of not just the AL, but the MLB Triple Crown. Now, at 31 years old and playing his 2nd season in Boston, I'm intrigued to see what his performance will be like in 2019 following a monstrous first season for the Red Sox.

Batting 5th; SS Xander Bogaerts
Following up behind fellow RBI machine J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts is a reliable option if J.D. fails to drive in runners in scoring position. With 103 runs batted in of his own in 2018, Bogaerts had his best season yet, and he wasn't significantly affected by injuries. In his contract season, let's hope for at least one more fantastic year from Xander Bogaerts.

Batting 6th; 1B Mitch Moreland
2018 World Series MVP, Steve Pearce, along with Pedroia, is also beginning the 2019 season on the injured list, but the 1st baseman's injury isn't expected to be serious. Until he returns to the lineup, Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis will split duties at 1st base. Because a lefty is starting for Seattle, Moreland will get the nod for Opening Day.

Batting 7th; 2B Eduardo Nunez
Nunez struggled with injuries throughout the 2018 season that limited his ability to contribute on offense. Now that he's completely healthy and starting on Opening Day for the 2nd straight season, I'll be watching him closely to see if he's improved. He'll have some respectable playing time before Pedroia returns as he's splitting the 2nd base duties with Brock Holt.

Batting 8th; CF Jackie Bradley Jr
After finally winning the first Gold Glove award of his career, Jackie Bradley Jr's defensive expertise can no longer be denied. The major concern, like 2018, is how he will fare offensively after struggling at the plate in 2018. Like Devers, it's been reported that he's worked on his swing. I suppose we can only wait and see if Bradley makes any major improvements on offense. 

Batting 9th; C Christian Vazquez
It took many years, but the Red Sox have finally settled on 2 catchers for their roster. Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez will begin the 2019 season on Boston's roster after Sandy Leon accepted a demotion to triple-A Pawtucket. The best all-around option for offense and defense, Vazquez will be starting on Opening Day.

Clearly, the 2019 Boston Red Sox's lineup for Opening Day isn't a drastic departure from the 2018 lineup. Rather, the major test for this year's team is if they can continue their success after a historic run last year.

Happy Opening Day everyone. Play ball!


  1. Glad to see Betts is starting the season off strong. Sale on the other hand had a pretty rough outing. I like both of these guys... and will be quietly rooting them on throughout the season.

  2. Woof, that game was tough to watch...I take solace in the fact that they lost Opening Day last year too.