Boston Red Sox

Chris Sale Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

On Monday afternoon the Boston Red Sox announced that Chris Sale will be taking the mound down in Florida on Opening Day against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In Sale’s first season with the Red Sox, he started 32 games, while posting a 17-8 record through 214.1 innings pitched. He finished the year with an impressive 308 strikeouts, 43 walks and an ERA of 2.90, plus a WHIP of .970. And he held opponents to a measly .208 batting averaging, while allowing 24 home runs.

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According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Red Sox manager Alex Cora says that David Price and Rick Porcello will follow Sale in games two and three, respectively.

Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez could end up drawing the fourth spot, with Drew Pomeranz’s status still up in the air. Brian Johnson will remain on the MLB roster at least for now and will begin to “prepare” for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

The biggest questions surrounding the Red Sox starting rotation are as follows:

Can Price be the “Secondary Ace” or at least the stud that the Sox need or have expected him to be?

Will Porcello bounce back after a down year, in which he had as many losses (17) as Sale and Pomeranz had wins?

And lastly, when will Drew Pomeranz make his return to the Red Sox rotation?

Here’s more on Pomeranz’s situation:

There’s still a shot that Pomeranz could be ready for the start of season, after leaving a Grapefruit League start with tightness in his left forearm back on March 2.

Pomeranz tossed a 33-pitch simulated two-inning session at JetBlue Park on Sunday morning, and it “felt good” for the southpaw, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

“I don’t know velocity-wise what it was, but it was carrying through and it was getting on them quick — that’s what I look for, the four-seam, the way it’s coming out of my hand — it was coming out good,” said Pomeranz. “That’s the first day I’ve really gotten after it. I threw a bullpen the other day where I was just kind of moving. Today I actually started firing them in there. I felt great. I felt normal.”

The idea is that the Red Sox are waiting for him to feel “normal” when he’s really getting after it on the mound before throwing him back in the rotation.

“[Pomeranz] was challenged to go out there after throwing a 45-pitch bullpen a few days earlier,” said pitching coach Dana LeVangie. “The biggest thing was getting him up and down, just trying to replicate a game. The ball was coming out really good, I thought he stayed in his delivery really well, mixed in all his pitches. A good day.”

Pomeranz will look to carry over the success he had in 2017, after rebounding from a tough go in 2016. In 2017, he started 32 games, finishing the year 17-6, with 174 strikeouts and a team-high 69 walks through 173.2 innings pitched.

The Red Sox open the 2018 season on Thursday, March 29, with a five-game Florida road trip, beginning with three in Tampa, followed by two against the Miami Marlins. They will host Opening Day at Fenway Park on Thursday, April 5, at 2:05 p.m. against the Rays.

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— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.