Today's spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays may be the first important game of the year. Kind of. Why?
The Red Sox are playing for the first time their likely Opening Day lineup in its entirety, and they're facing nemesis Andy Sonnanstine. You might remember him. He had a 102 OPS+ yet did not allow a single earned run all season long against the Red Sox. Thirteen innings. Seven hits. Zero earned runs.
If the Sox are to overtake the Rays and win the East this season, beating up on league-average pitchers should be a top priority. It's never too soon to start.
Also, the Globe reports the Sox are leaning toward giving Chris Carter the 25th spot on the roster. If Carter makes something of his time in the bigs, that Bronson Arroyo trade may yet turn out to be worthwhile.