Opening Day

Today is Opening Day, the least heralded Opening Day I can ever remember. In fact, the first MLB game of the season was played today, who knew?

The Red Sox Opening Day is still a week away, but now is a good time to review the pitching staff for the Red Sox.

Starters:

Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett are certainties. The 4th and 5th spots are getting clearer and clearer with Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront the favorites. That leaves Alfredo Aceves back in the bullpen and I think he is invaluable in that role.

The bullpen will be Andrew Bailey (closer), Mark Melancon, Aceves, Matt Albers, Frankling Morales (with Rich Hill a later in the season replacement), Andrew Miller (spot starter/long reliever) and Michael Bowden (misc.), who is out of options. If Bowden isn’t on the roster, he is free to leave, so expect him to stick.

I really prefer Bard in the bullpen as he was about as good a set-up guy as there was in baseball. It’s the old don’t fix what ain’t broken. That said, the rotation was broken last year and someone has to be the 5th starter.

The Red Sox signed a bevy of cast-off starters like Carlos Silva (released already), Aaron Cook, Brandon Duckworth (was in AAA Pawtucket last year too) and Vincente Padilla in hopes one could step in if needed, but they avoided quality like the plague. Why not drop a few extra bucks on Kiroda or up the bid for Oswalt? Especially when you consider they traded away Marco Scutaro to presumably free up payroll to sign a starter, it just doesn’t add up.

So the pitching staff isn’t bad by any means, but the rotation is 40% unknown at the moment and that needs to be firmed up.

Bobby Valentine continues to make news for talking, incessantly. He says things that the rest of us would keep to ourselves. It is facinating and terrifying at the same time watching Valentine do his thing. It is facinating because he cannot seem to help himself and terrifying because he is the manager of my favorite baseball team and I just cannot see this working out.

The Red Sox will not be bad because they have too much talent, but I’m not sure their leader has what it takes to manage all of the personalities. Maybe, hopefully, his approach is so different than that of Terry Francona, that the Red Sox are trying to over-correct last year’s flaws with the ultimate hope of just getting back to even keel. I have no idea, but this 2012 edition might just be high entertainment on a number of levels.