The 2019 Boston Red Sox begin their hunt for a World Series repeat in Safeco Field against the Seattle Mariners to open up their regular season.
“Red Sox win the World Series. 5-1 the final tonight”
The final words of the 2018 Boston Red Sox season, capped off in victorious fashion back in that glorious, unforgettable Los Angeles October night. It seems like it was just yesterday that thousands of Red Sox fans gathered from Fenway Park to downtown Boston in celebration of the five-game series victory over the Dodgers.
“BEAT LA”. A historic chant that began with the early 1980 battles of Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. One that quickly returned for the second consecutive defeat of Los Angeles Dodgers World Series baseball.
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“We scored 16 runs in Yankee Stadium… suck on it.” The final words of Alex Cora, sending the 2018 Red Sox through the organization’s fourth World Series parade celebration in the last 15 years.
Now… it’s back to work.
Seattle Mariners: Alex Cora and his squad kick off their World Series defense year against the Seattle Mariners. Last season Seattle finished 89-73, third in the American League West division and just eight wins shy of a Wild Card game ticket in New York.
The Mariners have since shopped several big names in the trade market this past off-season. Doing away with James Paxton, Edwin Diaz, and Robinson Cano. Acquiring top prospect talent, indicating that Seattle is going forward with a rebuilding approach to their organizations future. An approach that isn’t like any typical rebuild mode where they’re destined for an 80+ loss season. Seattle still has prospect infielder, J.P. Crawford alongside acquired pieces such as Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic.
In Tokyo they defeated the Oakland Athletics in back-to-back games, sending off Mariner legend Ichiro Suzuki to Cooperstown and gaining baseball’s best record of 2-0.
Starting Lineup (Game 1):
Andrew Benintendi (left field)
Perhaps the most valuable glove in Boston’s dugout last October. Andrew Benintendi made several impactful web gems in left field that’ll forever live in the Red Sox history tapes of millions. Whether it was in Houston or Boston, Benintendi made sure to leave his mark with some of the biggest catches in Red Sox playoff history.
Since being drafted in 2016, Benintendi has made the jump in the blink of an eye as one of the core pieces to the Red Sox “Killer B” outfield.
Last season: 148 games, .290/.366/.465, 16 HR, 87 RBI’s
Mookie Betts (right field)
“Back up the brink trucks.” At least this’ll be what last season’s AL MVP screams to the Red Sox front office once free agency hits Mookie Betts‘ door. It was a breakout year for Mookie who was undoubtedly the most valuable Red Sox on the field, doing it on both ends of the field.
However with contracts such as 13-year, $330 million going to Bryce Harper, and 12-year, $430 million to Mike Trout, the question begs regarding Mookie’s future in Boston. Will the Red Sox be willing to dig deep in their pockets when the time comes.
Last season: 136 games, .346/.438/.640, 32 HR, 80 RBI’s
Rafael Devers (third base)
The young stud due for his breakout season. Devers has all the swagger in the world around his neck, entering his first full veteran season in Boston.
The 22-year old Devers has had his fair share of defensive struggles, making 24 errors in 326 chances at third base last season. That was second most in baseball last season, just one shy for the top spot of 25 errors committed by Jurickson Profar.
However when it came time to shine in October, Devers stepped up and batted .385 with six RBI’s against the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
Last season: 121 games, .240.298/.433, 21 HR, 66 RBI’s
J.D. Martinez (designated hitter)
The free agent snag heard around the world!
J.D. Martinez quickly found his place in Boston, helping carry an offense that finished dead last in home runs the season prior to his arrival. I guess 43 added for $110 million isn’t that bad right?
Martinez also battled with teammate Mookie Betts for the league MVP Award but mysteriously came up short of nomination. Nevertheless winning two Silver Slugger Awards for two different positions (designated hitter, outfielder) made sure to give J.D. the recognition he earned.
Last season: 150 games, .330/.402/.629, 43 HR, 130 RBI’s
Xander Bogaerts (shortstop)
The comeback kid last season. After a disappointing season both offensively and defensively in 2017, Bogey came through and responded the best way possible in 2018. A season with a career high in home runs, runs batted in, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.
However with 10 errors totaled last season, there’s certainly room for improvement in 2019.
Last season: 136 games, .288/.360/.522, 23 HR, 103 RBI’s
Mitch Moreland (first base)
One of two platoon men to guard the right corner of the infield. Moreland has molded into his role since being signed from free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Expect time to be split with second year infielder and World Series MVP Steve Pearce.
Last season: 124 games, .245/.325/.433, 15 HR, 68 RBI’s
Eduardo Nunez (second base)
The platoon man who’s gonna hold the fort down over at second base until Dustin Pedroia gets the green-light to partake in regular season action.
Nunez will likely see time at both second and third base much like utility man Brock Holt. Getting the call for defensive purposes and pinch-hitting scenarios.
We all know how that paid off in the World Series…
Last season: 127 games, .365/.289/.388, 10 HR, 44 RBI’s
Jackie Bradley Jr. (center field)
The lineup savior against Houston. Jackie Bradley Jr.had one of the most unforgettable playoff series’ at the plate for the Red Sox. It all started with a bases clearing double in the third inning of game 2 against Gerrit Cole. Sparking his two home run, nine RBI tear in Houston.
Then there’s JBJ’s glove/arm which speaks for itself…
Last season: 144 games, .234/.314/.403, 13 HR, 59 RBI’s
Christian Vazquez (catcher)
After parting ways with former catcher Sandy Leon, the Red Sox clearly have their sights set on a Vazquez/Swihart platoon behind the plate. Vazquez is easily the best option for Boston when looking from a defensive perspective. He’s evolved to becoming a pitcher friendly catcher through his framework.
Last season: 80 games, .207/.257/.283, 3 HR, 16 RBI’s
Chris Sale (starting pitcher)
The only spending the Boston Red Sox did in the off-season now keeps Chris Sale rocking a Red Sox uniform for the next five seasons. $150 million signed and set for Sale, keeping the true Ace in Boston for hopefully another five last inning put-outs of some National League team that’ll then get the duck boats loaded for a cruise around the city of Boston.
Last season: 27 games, 12-4, 2.11 ERA, 158.0 IP, 0.861 WHIP
Pitching Probables (Games 2,3, and 4):
Game 2- Friday March 29, 10:10 p.m. E.T.
Game 3- Saturday March 30, 9;10 p.m. E.T.
Game 4- Sunday March 31, 4:10 p.m. E.T.
The hunt for number 10 begins Thursday night in Seattle.