Sometimes I feel like it is hard to find things to complain about regarding our team this season. Then I look at the Red Sox lineup. I can find a few things, three in fact: the five, six, and seven spots. These slots in the lineup are a revolving door. John Farrell tries each game to get the right combination, but it is a struggle that sometimes pays off and other times, does not.
The right mix seems evasive. It can cause close games, or even worse, cost us the game. You put Mike Napoli in and he swings wildly at pitches he should not. He wants to muscle his way through plate appearances. Napoli has made progress over the course of the last few games. Stephen Drew has improved, too. He is still best placed after a batter, or batters, that can get on base. Thus, having him hit eighth in the lineup like he did in Sunday’s game against Chicago is optimal. Only trouble with it was that he got stranded on base 5 times according to the statistics. Not necessarily his fault. Two outs may have been made earlier leaving Drew on base.
Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Daniel Nava run hot and cold at bat. Putting these players back-to-back has not proved effective. Where are you going to put them, though? Some of the trouble is not the construction of the lineup, but the performance of the player. Performance is the big, unpredictable variable. One quick fix for some players, specifically Napoli, is to draw more walks and stop the super hero act.
The middle of the lineup is constantly changing. John Farrell works on it, game in and game out. There is no question that the center of our lineup is a liability. The first four hitters need to develop the rhythm and momentum, setting the pace for these middle men.
What do you think the magic combination is in the center of the lineup?