During the last two starts, it feels as if John Farrell is back in Spring Training mode, mixing up the Red Sox lineup in preparation for the postseason. During one game, he had Mike Carp in the clean-up spot and during Sunday’s game Jonny Gomes hit clean-up. Surprising, as his bat his been, and was, silent over the last five starts. Jackie Bradley Jr. remained at the bottom of the lineup during both games, and John McDonald made an appearance on Saturday’s game to see what he could add.
In watching Bradley closely during his last few starts, he seems to have taken my armchair advice and backed up a bit toward the center of the box. A few sessions with the hitting coach probably did not hurt, too. There are two reasons why this is a good idea, the sweet spot of the bat is a bit more over the center of the plate, and pitchers that know him to be weak inside will get a surprise when he connects for, single, double, or homer. As my father says, he was “just a step from greatest,” and he proved that on Sunday with his home run.
Mike Napoli sat out both games, which I believe is a smart move to preserve those hips, or likely to get some help in the hitting department. Over the last six starts, Napoli has not been hitting, walking more than connecting with the ball.
There have been changes in positions, too. Dustin Pedroia sat out Saturday’s contest against the Blue Jays to see how McDonald would do at second base. Farrell also had Will Middlebrooks at first, to see his versatility in that position, while Xanders Bogaerts played third base. There were additional changes on Sunday. I look forward to see what happens during the road trip beginning on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies, especially with regard to the pitching rotation.
I love seeing new players make starts, and current players in new positions. Farrell, the mad scientist at work, surely will get us through the division series. What will be his next moves in the next four regular season games? Your guess is as good as mine.