Red Sox Spring Training Delight – 3/31

It’s the last day in March and with Opening Day 2012 around the corner, we still only know 3/5 of the Boston Red Sox rotation.

The four left in the battle have all pitched this week and pitched well for the most part. Daniel Bard was the last of the four to take the mound and he did so yesterday.

Bard went six innings yesterday, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks but did have seven strikeouts. Matt Albers followed him by allowing two runs on three hits and three walks in 1.2 innings of work. Mark Melancon got the save despite allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits in 1.1 innings of work.

For arguments sake, let’s look at the numbers of the four involved:

  • Aaron Cook – three games (two starts), 9.1 innings pitched, 1.93 ERA
  • Felix Doubront – four games (three starts), 16.2 innings pitched, 2.70 ERA
  • Alfredo Aceves – five games (three starts), 18 innings pitched, 5.50 ERA
  • Bard – six games (five starts), 24.2 innings pitched, 6.23 ERA

Based on those numbers, Doubront is a lock to make the rotation. Cook still needs some more innings to build up his arm strength but presents an interesting option because he’s a sinkerballer. Aceves is more valuable, at least to me, in the bullpen. Bard could go either way right now.

Conceivably, the Red Sox don’t need a fifth starter right away. But with Beckett lined up to pitch the home opener, they will more than likely need a 5th starter on April 10th.

Cook could be ready by then but probably wouldn’t be able to give them more than 5-6 innings. And since you don’t know how the other four games will go before that and how much the bullpen is used, I’m not sure that’s a chance you take.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Doubront as the fourth starter and Bard as the fifth starter. And if either of them don’t work out, you have Cook waiting in the wings. Cook does have an opt-out clause in his contract but that’s not until May 1st and my best guess is that he’s in the rotation by then.

For a look at the links from the media as well as the lineups for today’s game against the Rays, please click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

After beating the Twins yesterday 9-7, the Red Sox make the trip up I-75 to take on their AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network. If you live in the Boston area, you can also catch the game on your radio dial at WEEI 93.7 FM/850 AM.

Here are today’s lineups:

Boston Red Sox Tampa Bay Rays
1. Pedro Ciriaco SS 1. Desmond Jennings CF
2. Nate Spears 2B 2. Luke Scott DH
3. Darnell McDonald LF 3. Evan Longoria 3B
4. Mauro Gomez RF 4. Ben Zobrist RF
5. Kelly Shoppach C 5. Carlos Pena 1B
6. Jason Repko CF 6. Matthew Joyce RF
7. Dan Butler DH 7. Jeff Keppinger 2B
8. Daniel Nava RF 8. Jose Lobaton C
9. Jonathan Hee 3B 9. Sean Rodriguez SS
Ross Ohlendorf SP Kyle Farnsworth SP

Ohlendorf will be followed by RHP Michael Bowden and LHP Franklin Morales.

Farnsworth will be followed by RHP Joel Peralta, RHP Burke Badenhop and LHP Jake McGee.

MORE LINKS WILL BE ADDED BEFORE GAMETIME IF/WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE AND WILL BE BOLDED

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Ross has spring in his step again [Boston Globe]

Bard starts to put it together [Boston Globe]

Something to prove [Boston Herald]

Lucchino: Sox, Cubs have talked [Boston Herald]

Name Bard a starter [Boston Herald]

Calm before storm [Boston Herald]

Recapping the Red Sox regulars day in the minors [Clubhouse Insider]

Bard makes his final pitch to join the rotation [CSN New England]

Ross making his mark with Red Sox [CSN New England]

Lester sharp in final spring outing [CSN New England]

Bard excels, Valentine equivocates [ESPN Boston]

Larry Lucchino thinks Cody Ross will be Boston Red Sox fan favorite [ESPN Boston]

Boston Red Sox ‘exploring’ Theo Epstein compensation issue after Chris Carpenter surgery [ESPN Boston]

Lester tunes up for opener with 57 pitches [Extra Bases]

Carpenter denies any pre-existing injury [Extra Bases]

Rich Hill feel great after first game [Extra Bases]

Valentine makes rotation decisions; announcement Sunday [Extra Bases]

Cody Ross likes hitting home runs and playing for the Red Sox [Full Count]

Daniel Bard Ready For Decision On Starting Future, Says He Would Be ‘Not Surprised’ If He Isn’t Selected [NESN.com]

Jenny Dell Explains Why She’s Working Her Dream Job, Discusses Life Away From Covering Red Sox [NESN.com]

Director of Player Development Ben Crockett Encouraged by Lars Anderson, Impressed With Alex Wilson [NESN.com]

Chris Carpenter to Miss Six to Eight Weeks After Surgery, Insists He Was Healthy Before Coming to Red Sox [NESN.com]

Bard strong in final audition for starting rotation [Projo Sox Blog]

Ciriaco shows off speed in scoring run [Projo Sox Blog]

Work on swing — baseball, not golf — paying off for Cody Ross [Projo Sox Blog]

Slugging prospect Bryce Brentz headed to Double-A [Projo Sox Blog]

Chris Carpenter on elbow surgery: “I think everybody’s surprised” [Projo Sox Blog]

Lester tunes up for Opening Day against minor-leaguers [Projo Sox Blog]

Kalish to stay behind when Red Sox go north [Projo Sox Blog]

Valentine to announce starting rotation Sunday [Projo Sox Blog]

Bard grows as starter with fate undetermined [RedSox.com]

Rejuvenated Ross feeling good at the plate [RedSox.com]

Ellsbury fine after fouling ball off right knee [RedSox.com]

Miller set to resume game action Monday [RedSox.com]

Valentine comfortable with outfield alignment [RedSox.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

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