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Red Sox 2023 Opening Day news and notes

Dan Roche's 2023 Red Sox preview: Will Boston contend for a playoff spot?
Dan Roche's 2023 Red Sox preview: Will Boston contend for a playoff spot? 02:22

BOSTON -- Don't let the chilly wind fool you. Baseball is in the air in Boston, with the Red Sox opening their 2023 season Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Following a 78-84 last place finish in 2022 -- the team's second time in the AL East basement over the past three seasons --  the expectations range between tempered and non-existent. There are question marks aplenty up and down the roster. Confidence in the starting rotation is low, and we're not quite sure what to expect out of the team's lineup. In a competitive AL East, it won't be easy for the Red Sox to get back to the postseason.

But right now, every team is 0-0, and until things go south, there's a smidgen of hope that maybe Boston could compete for a Wild Card spot. A lot would have to go right, but Chaim Bloom believes he's put together a team of "grinders" that will battle every night.

It all starts Thursday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles, a team the Sox went just 10-9 against last season. Here's what you need to know about the 2023 Red Sox and their Opening Day matchup with the O's.

The New Guys

Before we get into the game, we'll hit you with a refresher on all the new arms and bats that joined the team over the winter. And there are a lot of them.

We'll start with the biggest signing of the offseason: Masataka Yoshida. Some eyebrows raised around baseball when the Red Sox gave the Japanese export a five-year, $90-million contract (plus they ponied up a $15 million posting fee), but Yoshida did nothing but impress during the spring and World Baseball Classic. He tore the cover off the ball for Japan, slashing a ridiculous .409/.531/.727 with a pair of homers and a WBC record 13 RBI over seven games. Now he's set to be Boston's cleanup hitter and everyday left fielder.

There is quite a bit of excitement surrounding Yoshida, who hit .327 to go with a .421 OBP and .960 OPS over seven seasons in Japan. On Tuesday, he hit his first homer in a Red Sox uniform.

Fellow newcomers Justin Turner and Adam Duvall should add some pop to the Boston lineup, and they both have won World Series rings in the last three years. Age is the biggest concern with that duo, with Turner sitting at 38 and Duvall at 34. While Turner will spend a lot of time in the DH spot, Duvall is set to be Boston's starting center fielder. There is some depth in the outfield, with Raimel Tapia (remember his inside-the-park grand slam against the Sox last season?) winning the final roster spot over Jarren Duran.

Trevor Story was set to make the move to shortstop to take over for Xander Bogaerts, but he'll miss most of the season -- if not all of it -- with an elbow injury. Enrique Hernandez will now play short, with the injured Adalberto Mondesi providing some depth when he gets back from a torn ACL he suffered last season.

As for the pitching staff, Bloom added Corey Kluber to the starting rotation and ... no one else. The Sox are banking on Chris Sale returning to form after three injury-riddled seasons, Nick Pivetta racking up a lot of innings again, and youngsters Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello, and Kutter Crawford having career years. James Paxton is also expected to return at some point, but his addition should be viewed as a bonus and really shouldn't be relied on.

The rotation is, shall we say, spotty at best. But at least Bloom went out and added some talented arms to the bullpen, which was one of the worst in baseball in 2022.

Kenley Jansen will now close out games for the Red Sox, and it should be interesting to see how a guy who works at a snail's pace does with the new pitch timer. But Jansen should provide a lot of stability at the end of the pen, along with righty Chris Martin and lefty Richard Bleier. Bloom also added another southpaw in Joely Rodriguez, who is starting the season on the IL.

Potential Lineup

Here's the most likely lineup card that Alex Cora will turn in on Thursday:

1. Alex Verdugo, RF
2. Rafael Devers, 3B
3. Justin Turner, DH
4. Masataka Yoshida, LF
5. Adam Duvall, CF
6. Triston Casas, 1B
7. Christian Arroyo, 2B
8. Reese McGuire, C
9. Kiké Hernández, SS  

Pitching Matchup

Corey Kluber vs. Kyle Gibson

The 36-year-old Kluber will make his Red Sox debut on Opening Day. This will be the fifth Opening Day start of his career, but Kluber is still looking for his first Opening Day win.

He isn't going to break the radar gun, but Kluber knows how to use his cutter, curve, and sinker to get outs. Boston is his third different team over the last three seasons, with Kluber going 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA over 31 starts for Tampa Bay last season, and 5-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts for the New York Yankees in 2021.

He'll be opposed by the 35-year-old Gibson, who signed with Baltimore in the offseason and is set for his second Opening Day start. Gibson went 10-8 with a 5.05 ERA over 31 starts for the Phillies last season.


  • Fans attending the game are being asked to be in their seats by 1:30 pm to enjoy the Opening Day ceremony.
  • It wouldn't be Opening Day at Fenway Park without a flyover. This year's will include two F-15C's from the 104th Fighter Wing flown out of Westfield, Massachusetts and two F-35A's from the 158th Fighter Wing flown out of Burlington, Vermont.
  • The national anthem will be performed by award-winning recording artist and Springfield native Michelle Brooks-Thompson.

Other Notes

  • The Red Sox are 59-62-1 all-time on Opening Day. Boston has lost on Opening Day in four of the last five seasons. 
  • Alex Cora is still looking for his first Opening Day win as manager of the Boston Red Sox.
  • This will be the third time that the Red Sox open their season against the Orioles in the last four years, with the two teams splitting their previous two Opening Day matchups.
  • This will be the 15th time the Red Sox open the season against the Orioles overall, with Boston going 6-8 in their previous matchups.
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