The Red Sox already know who they plan to start on Opening Day. They’ll wait to tell us, but pitching coach John Farrell is too well-organized not to have every detail of spring training and the first few weeks of the season planned out well in advance.
So perhaps this exercise is fruitless. But here goes:
Who do you think should start Opening Day against the Yankees, Josh Beckett or Jon Lester?
Lester is clearly the best starter the Sox have. He was picked to start Game 1 of the playoffs last season and the young lefty looks to be on the verge of big things.
But I would start Beckett and here’s why.
He is the clear leader of the pitching staff, the guy Terry Francona wants the young pitchers to emulate — and that includes Lester. Beckett also has shown a knack for the big spot in his career and taking the mound on Sunday night against the Yankees on national television is something he will relish.
It also send a subtle message of support as Beckett enters the final year of his contract. As the GM, Theo Epstein must be cold-blooded as he makes decisions. But Francona and Farrell would do well to give Beckett the honor of opening the season.
The pitchers always say it doesn’t matter. But being The Man for Game 1 is always something special. Lester will get to do it plenty of times before his career is over. But maybe this would be a good time for the Sox to let Beckett know how they feel about him.