Since the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford in the offseason’s largest free agent deal, questions have persisted about where exactly he would fit in the lineup. His signing relegated the right-handed Mike Cameron to the bench. The Red Sox other major acquisition, Adrian Gonzalez is another left-handed bat who was replacing a righty in departing free-agent Adrian Beltre. This caused the Red Sox lineup to shift decidedly to the left, exposing the otherwise potent lineup to left-handed starters as well as Lefty One Out Guys (LOOGYs) out of the pen.
With all these lefties it is impossible for Terry Francona to alternate left, right, left right as he has often done during his time as manager of the Red Sox. Since in any lineup some of the lefties have to be stacked I’d have Jacoby Ellsbury lead off with Crawford hitting second. When Ellsbury is healthy he is a fairly prototypical lead off hitter and Crawford clearly is not comfortable there. With some of the added power he has shown in the early going pitchers will pitch Ellsbury more carefully increasing his OBP. Having Ellsbury in front of Crawford will allow Crawford to run more by not having the bases clogged in front of him. Most importantly by having two of the fastest players in Major League Baseball hitting 1-2 virtually eliminates the possibility of double plays in front of the heart of the order.
In the #3 hole is Kevin Youkillis. Adrian Gonzalez has been hitting third as of late and is on a tear, but having Youkillis hit third will break up the lefties. Youkillis’ career OBP is also somewhat higher than Gonzalez’s. So now in front of Gonzalez hitting cleanup you have two speedsters who won’t kill rallies with double plays and the most patient hitter on the team.
Unlike most managers would have their power hitters all hit in the 3-5 spots and build the lineup out from there, I’d break with conventional wisdom and have Pedroia hit there instead of David Ortiz.. Again I want to break up the lefties. If an oposing manager wants to use his LOOGY on Gonzalez and Ortiz, the LOOGY has to face Pedroia. After Ortiz hits 6th, switch hitter Jed Lowrie slots perfectly into the 7th spot. In the 8 hole is the RF Platoon-ish duo of Mike Cameron and JD Drew.
The Jason Varitek/Jarrod Saltalamacchia offensive abyss is 9th. Hopefully Theo can find a utility player who has some catching experience so Tito can aggressively pinch hit for either catcher. Not sure if Ryan Doumit is available, but I’d take Jake Fox at this point. Is Eli Marrerro or Matthew LeCroy ready for a comeback? In summation: