Tito still mulling over Opening Day lineup

Usually an Opening Day lineup is pretty simple for a manager. You put your best nine players out there in the order you expect them to hit in for most of the season.  But Terry Francona is faced with a bit of a different situation this year, in that his team is going against Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson.

How good is Wilson against lefties? Well, last year, they hit .144 against him with no homers and 12 RBIs. Yes, that is filthy.

“It’s not just the lefty, it’s who the lefty is,” Francona told reporters today from City of Palms Park. “This is something, that’s why I’ve been so hesitant to talk about the lineup. C.J. Wilson is one of those lefties, where on normal days, if it’s July, that’s the day you give your righties a shot. Now, it’s Opening Day. There’s some thought that needs to go into that.”

Here is a breakdown of Sox lefties lifetime vs. Wilson:  Crawford 2-for-12, 1 HR, 4 RBIs; Ortiz 1-for-10, 1 RBI; J.D. Drew 1-for-6, 0 RBIs; Jacoby Ellsbury 0-for-1; Adrian Gonzalez 0-for-1.

So Francona has several dilemmas: Does he hit Ellsbury leadoff or put him at the bottom of the order? Does Drew start, or does Tito insert Mike Cameron?

Even though Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, is going to be the primary catcher this season, does Francona give Jason Varitek the honor of starting Opening Day? His motive in that situation, aside from Varitek’s strong history with starting pitcher Jon Lester, is that ‘Tek is a stronger right-handed hitter and Salty is better from the left side.

What order do Youkilis and Gonzalez hit in? Does he hit Youk fourth and Gonzo fifth or vice versa?


My projected starting lineup and stat predictions:

CF: Jacoby Ellsbury 60 stolen bases, 100 runs
LF: Carl Crawford 43 stolen bases, 15 triples
2B: Dustin Pedroia 20 home runs, .315 AVG
3B: Kevin Youkilis 155 hits, 100 RBI
1B: Adrian Gonzalez 40 home runs, 125 RBI
DH: David Ortiz 80 BB, .510 SLG
RF: J.D. Drew 880 OPS, 130 hits
SS: Marco Scutaro 32 doubles, 160 hits
C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia .250 AVG, .315 OBP
Ace SP: Jon Lester 22 wins, 230 Ks
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon 35 saves, 2.85 ERA

Here is a full preview of the 2011 Red Sox:


what day is opening day like see it tv i redsox fan and david ortiz fan and that good lane up

Sometimes I think too much attention is paid to stats.
Tito needs to put out is best lineup. Els, Pedroia, CC, Gonzo,
Youk, Big Papi, Drew, Salty, Scut.That way he’s making a statement to other teams and his own players

Good thing that the RedSox opener is in Arlington huh?? Looks like Fenway will be a bit wet on April 1st!!
Can’t wait…

I was pleased to see both Gonzo and Crawford had good games yesterday– both seem to be hitting their stride well. I hope they transfer it to Arlington tomorrow, and to Fenway next week! I am also pleased with what I saw from Salty yesterday. He seems to be showing a good bat– that would be a huge bonus, in my book.

Well, the time stamp might be accurate, if it is located in GMT. A little ahead, today (4 hours’ worth… hmmm…). Oh, well…

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