Red Sox giving fans Opening Day preview with Tuesday’s lineup against Cardinals

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

After their two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend in the Dominican Republic, the Boston Red Sox seem ready to play regular season baseball.

The Sox started many of their stars during the weekend's two-game sweep of the Rays, but they did not all start together. Brayan Bello, fresh off a contract extension, didn't get the nod in his home of DR, but he'll pitch Tuesday.

Bello is Boston's only true starter (at the moment) and he is expected to get the start on March 28 against the Mariners to open the season. He's put together a fine spring so far, with a 3.60 ERA and five strikeouts in five innings.

Most of the Sox's regular-season infield is a given, with Triston Casas at first, Trevor Story at shortstop, and face-of-the-franchise Rafael Devers at third. Casas and Story put in the work to earn their spots last season and this winter — Red Sox Nation is hyperaware of Casas' breakout and potential star power, while Story posted eight outs above average last season in his brief healthy stint.

Red Sox fans could see the potential Opening Day lineup against the Cardinals this afternoon

With Vaughn Grissom injured, the Red Sox have said they expect infielder Enmanuel Valdez to play in his stead. Valdez hasn't put together the best performance this spring, but he did drill a home run in his home country on March 9 to help the Sox secure a win over the Rays.

He may be better suited for second base than Boston's other utility infield options. Bobby Dalbec plays better in the corner slots and Pablo Reyes has been having a rough spring at the plate, batting .143 with seven strikeouts in 21 at-bats.

Masataka Yoshida will be taking up his expected post as the designated hitter while one of Boston's new outfielders, Tyler O'Neill, gets a shot to make an impression in the field. He's already homered this spring and brings quality defense to Alex Verdugo's former spot in right field. O'Neill did not travel with the team to the Dominican Republic due to calf tightness, and Tuesday's action marks his return to the lineup.

While many thought that Jarren Duran and Ceddanne Rafaela were fighting for the same center field job, they'll play beside each other in the pastures this afternoon. Duran suits left field better than center, as Rafaela has Jackie Bradley Jr.-esque defensive capabilities. Duran could use the replica Green Monster to his advantage with his less impressive defense. He'll utilize his speed in the leadoff spot.

Hopefully, Boston's offense can find the momentum it needs while maintaining a more consistent level of defense than last season. With Devers and Story taking up new posts as team leaders and Casas and Bello coming up behind them, the Red Sox are primed for a dramatic shift from last season as the youth movement begins to take hold.

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