I didn't get a chance yesterday to talk about the outing Jon Lester had for the Boston Red Sox on Monday due to the fact that I was busy laying down subflooring with my father at my parent's lakehouse. However, I did watch a good part of Lester's outing and there's probably no doubt in Bobby Valentine's mind about his choice to start opening day.
Before Monday's start against the Philadelphia Phillies, Lester's numbers in his last start weren't as good as he had hoped. He had said previously after that start that he was healthy and his mechanics were just fine. It was his execution.
Well the time off between starts allowed Lester to tweak things and it showed. He mowed down 10 Phillies in seven innings of work and allowed just two hits. Now he'll get one more start where he probably will just throw long enough to get some good work in before beginning his preparations for the 2012 Opening Day start against the Detroit Tigers on April 5th.
The man who who will be pitching the second game of the season, Josh Beckett, took the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays and followed up his good buddy Lester with a fine performance of his own. There was no television or radio coverage of the game but when you look at the accounts of the game as well as the box score, one could tell Beckett is ready for the season as well.
Beckett threw five shutout innings allowing just one hit while walking three and striking out five throwing 85 pitches.
While we are still waiting to find out who will be the fourth and fifth starters in the Red Sox rotation, we know who the starting shortstop will be.
Before the Red Sox took on the Rays, they sent down SS Jose Iglesias as well as 1B Lars Anderson. Obviously Anderson wasn't going to supplant Adrian Gonzalez at first base so him being sent down was no big surprise.
Iglesias was a favorite of Valentine mostly because of the defense he provides. But for now, at least to start the season, Mike Aviles will be the 456th shortstop the Red Sox have had since trading Nomar Garciaparra. Okay, I'm kidding on how many shortstops there have been but that number is pretty high.
Another interesting decision the Red Sox will have is who will man right field when Carl Crawford returns to the team after the season starts. Odds are Cody Ross will be maning left field until Crawford returns. But I wonder if he stays in the lineup in right if he continues to hit like he has this spring.
Ross smacked a monster three-run homer on Tuesday and is now hitting .342 for the spring. It may all come down to who is pitching for the other team whether he, Ryan Sweeney and even Darnell McDonald, if he makes the team, as to who plays right once Crawford is back on the roster.
The Red Sox are enjoying their final day off of spring training so there is no game today. So for now enjoy the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Beckett is zeroed in against Tampa Bay [Boston Globe]
Sox send Iglesias down to Triple A [Boston Globe]
Approach here isn’t very defensible [Boston Globe]
Long story short: It's right move [Boston Herald]
Aviles man in middle [Boston Herald]
Lineup may be preview of opener [Boston Herald]
Josh Beckett, Salty 'good' to go [Boston Herald]
It's time to give this Mike Aviles guy a chance [Rob Bradford - WEEI.com]
Video: The pros and cons of shipping down SS Jose Iglesias [Clubhouse Insider]
Valentine realized Iglesias isn't ready [CSN New England]
Beckett goes five scoreless, lowers spring ERA to 0.95 [CSN New England]
Lackey apologizes for 'retarded' remark [CSN New England]
Schilling on Valentine: Not going well [CSN New England]
A case for Bard, Doubront in rotation [ESPN Boston]
Takeaways: Looking at Aviles as leadoff [ESPN Boston]
Up-and-coming outfielders [ESPN Boston]
Jose Iglesias' time will come ... soon [ESPN Boston]
Dave Magadan explains what happened to Jose Iglesias [Full Count]
Beckett ready to go north [Projo Sox Blog]
Could Mike Aviles be the Red Sox leadoff hitter? [Projo Sox Blog]
Complete quartet still in rotation mix [RedSox.com]
Crawford feels 'really good' about health [RedSox.com]
The case to not rush Jose Iglesias to Red Sox [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]
Demoting Iglesias is best for short term [Touching All The Bases]
Photo credit: AP Photo