Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, of Japan, throws to an Atlanta Braves batter during the second inning of a spring training baseball game, Monday, March 30, 2009, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

We are just 6 days away from the start of the 2009 season for the Boston Red Sox when they will host the 2008 American League champs the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Something just doesn’t sound right about that and the Red Sox will be looking to call themselves World Series champs this season.

I know I’m getting excited about the season starting up.

In order to do that, skipper Terry Francona has started to make out his lineup to at least start the season. Right now it looks like Jacoby Ellsbury will leadoff, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew will follow him. After that, it will be either Jason Bay or Mike Lowell in the 6th spot with the other taking the 7th spot and Jason Varitek or Jed Lowrie in the 8th spot with the other taking the 9th spot.

“I think having the left-handed hitter [fifth] is somewhat useful,” Francona said. “For me, right now, J.D. is healthy, we have Mikey Lowell and Bay who we can hit sixth and seventh. In my opinion, neither one is a typical [No. 7] hitter, but somebody is going to have to. We’ll figure it out. We have a chance for a pretty balanced, good lineup.”

To me, the Red Sox lineup looks very balanced. Many pundits will say the Red Sox are lacking some power with Manny not in the lineup but with Youk behind Papi last year, the Red Sox enjoyed success and hopefully that continues this season. Plus with Youk, Drew, Bay and Lowell, you have guys who are capable of hitting at least 20 home runs this season.

Yesterday, the Red Sox headed up to Disney to take on the Atlanta Braves and came away with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. But the real story of the day was how economical Daisuke Matsuzaka was in his first Grapefruit League start for the Red Sox this year.

Dice-K needed just 75 pitches to get through his 5 innings of work where he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2. Rocco Baldelli knocked in 2 runs with a 2-run homer and Dustin Pedroia had the other RBI on a double.

Today, the Red Sox host those same Rays at 1:05 PM at City of Palms Park. Clay Buchholz is expected to make his final start of the spring campaign for the Red Sox. There is no television coverage and the only radio coverage can be found on as part of their MLB Gameday Audio Package.

Drew to bat in five-hole for Red Sox []

Interest in Delcarmen? [Extra Bases]

Farrell, Sox content with Dice-K [Extra Bases]

Smoltz, Tiger and Che-Hsuan Lin [Clubhouse Insider]

Smoltz to take on Tiger [Full Count]

Rocco on Rocco [Full Count]

Farrell on Daisuke [Full Count]

Familiar surroundings for Smoltz [Full Count]

Red Sox downplay Papelbon’s rough spring [Providence Journal]

Baldelli getting back in groove for Red Sox [Providence Journal]

Reds’ minor leaguers tattoo Wakefield [Providence Journal]

You’d be wise to field this chance [Boston Globe]

Good economical indicators [Boston Globe]

Siding with Drew for 5-hole [Boston Globe]

Dice-K picking up pace [Boston Herald]

Clay Buchholz is one card you don’t deal [Boston Herald]

John Smoltz tags along [Boston Herald]