Red Sox Vs. Tigers Lineups: Jacoby Ellsbury Leads Off Opening Day Against Justin Verlander

The Red Sox lineup set to face off against Justin Verlander and the Tigers on Opening Day features no real surprises, as Bobby Valentine has penciled in the same starting nine in the same order that he had been using late in spring training.

Boston Red Sox (0-0)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  6. Ryan Sweeney, RF
  7. Cody Ross, LF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Mike Aviles, SS

Jacoby Ellsbury stays in the leadoff spot despite his power surge in 2011. It's been a difficult position for the Sox to fill throughout the past few years, with Dustin Pedroia expressing discomfort there and J.D. Drew never really taking to it despite his walk-friendly ways at the plate.

Valentine has chosen to forego the alternating right-left organization in the middle of the lineup, slotting David Ortiz ahead of Kevin Youkilis as the Sox prepare to take on the right-handed Justin Verlander. With big numbers against lefties last year, however, opposing managers will have a tough time taking advantage with left-handed relievers.

Ryan Sweeney is perhaps the biggest question mark, batting ahead of Cody Ross despite the latter's strong spring. Once again, however, handedness likely ruled he day here, with Ross being a lefty masher and Sweeney doing his best work against righties.

The Tigers will respond with their own dangerous 3-4 punch:

Detroit Tigers (0-0)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Ryan Raburn, DH
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B
Frankly, once you get past that ridiculous duo in the middle, it's a rather thin group. Austin Jackson doesn't really scream leadoff with a .331 OBP, and even against lefties having Delmon Young fifth is a bad sign. Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, and Brennan Boesch will really be the keys for this group in 2012. If they can play like they did last year, it will give them just the depth they need to compete on the top level. If they regress, however, then the absence of Victor Martinez will be sorely, sorely felt.

First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST. NESN and ESPN2 will provide television broadcasts, with WEEI handling the call on the radio.

For more Boston Red Sox coverage, visit our team page and blog, Over The Monster.

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