You Read It Here First…

…unless of course you first visited espn.com, boston.com, bostonherald.com, mlb.com and most other sports related websites, that Jon Lester will be the Red Sox opening day starter.

Is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be, especially when most speculated that it would come down to Lester or Josh Beckett for the opening day nod. The fact is, Lester is a far superior pitcher and has left Beckett in the dust the past few years. Now, if Beckett can get healthy and regain his form, we might have a debate.

Not only is this not a surprise, but given how poorly Beckett pitched last year (he had the highest WHIP of any pitcher who started a game for the Red Sox last year), Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka would be more deserving of the nod.

I’m piling it on Beckett now and he really doesn’t deserve that as he was injured, but given he is just starting his $17mm a year (X4) deal this year, he’d better fix what ails him and pitch like an ace. Anything less will be a disappointment.

Monday night showed us what could be the Red Sox opening day roster. Here’s what it looked like:

Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2b
Crawford – LF
Youkilis – 3b
Gonzalez – 1b
Ortiz – dh
Cameron – RF
Saltalamacchia – c
Scutaro – ss

Now the only obvious change is that JD Drew should be the opening day starter in right, but with his hamstring history, Cameron might get the nod. In addition, If Drew were in the line-up, that would put Gonzalez, Ortiz and Drew in a row, 3 lefties. I doubt Terry Francona would let that happen, so you might see Gonzalez and Youkilis swap spots to break things up a bit. But, as is clear, this is a lefty-heavy line-up making the success and health of Pedroia, Youkilis, Saltalamacchia and Scutaro (Lowrie) very important.