March 17 Notes: Devers and Dalbec’s Huge Days; Opening Day Starter Revealed; Lineup Construction

The Boston Red Sox took on the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in Florida and two of their infielders showed off their strength. Third baseman Rafael Devers and first baseman Bobby Dalbec went yard off veteran starter Matt Shoemaker. Dalbec hit a grand slam in the second inning for his fifth (yes, fifth!) home run of the spring and Devers hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the third.

Devers and Dalbec are going to be instrumental in the Red Sox’s offensive success this year regardless of if they are in the middle or bottom of the lineup.

Lineup Construction

Speaking of the lineup, manager Alex Cora‘s lineup on Wednesday looked very similar to the one he is likely going to use on Opening Day. It was as follows:

2B Kike Hernandez, CF Alex Verdugo, DH JD Martinez, SS Xander Bogaerts, 3B Devers, RF Hunter Renfroe, LF Marwin Gonzalez, C Christian Vasquez, 1B Dalbec

When Dalbec is hitting ninth in the order, that just tells you how deep it is. Look for Hernandez to have a great year at the top of the lineup now that he is on a team where he will be playing everyday. Of course, in Los Angeles with the Dodgers he was sharing playing time with the likes of Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux.

E-Rod’s Start

Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hill for the Sox in preparation for what will be an Opening Day start, which the Red Sox announced on Wednesday. He pitched five solid innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run with six strikeouts. So far this spring, Rodriguez has left right off where he was before COVID and it is a great sight to see if you’re a Red Sox fan.

With about two weeks to go until April 1, expect the Red Sox to begin building up their other starters more quickly so they’re ready to throw 90 pitches in the first week of April. One of those starters will not be Tanner Houck who was battling for the fifth starter role. He was sent down on Wednesday afternoon.

(Photo: AP)

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