Minutes after I finished musing about manager John Farrell’s strengths, I realized that the Red Sox lineup is very inconsistent. One minute I look up and Dustin Pedroia is hitting sixth. Then I look up again and he’s leading off.
Likewise, I feel like I’ve seen a different outfield combination every night. Granted there’s been a lot of injuries, but it’s still not helping the team’s lack of hitting. There needs to be a change. One of the reasons why the Red Sox lineup succeeded so much in 2016 is because it was consistent. Sure, you had a platoon in left field and an occasional off day, but it was predictable. Now, I look up and I see seemingly a different catcher and third baseman every night. Not to mention left field/center field.
For a team that is already missing the offensive production of David Ortiz, a solid and cohesive lineup is essential for success. Let alone the impact on defense. Here are my suggestions.
Red Sox Lineup Suggestions
- Keep Pedroia and Betts near the top of the lineup. Preferably leadoff and third respectively.
- Continue to bat Benintendi second, as he seems to be handling the pressure well, batting .327.
- Hanley stays in the clean-up spot. The guy hits bombs and is the only real power threat on the team other than maybe Betts.
- Put Mitch Moreland fifth because he can slap the ball the other way to drive in runs.
- Bogaerts needs to stay in the six hole, even though he’s one of the best hitters on the team. I think it suits him well to hit after Moreland matchup wise as well as RBI wise.
- Whether the third baseman is Sandoval, Hernandez, Holt, or whoever, they should bat seventh, again mainly based on match-ups.
- Jackie Bradley, who’s been struggling offensively this year, should bat eighth unless Leon is catching, then Bradley should bat ninth.
- Should Vazquez be catching, he should bat ninth.
To say that the Red Sox are struggling to score this season is an understatement. So it only made sense to see the Red Sox change the starting lineup before playing the Chicago Cubs. The Chicago Cubs’ visit to Fenway this week is only their third since 1918. In a repeat of the 1918 World Series, the Red Sox beat Chicago 5-4 in the first of a three-game series. Seeing Boston beat the defending World Series champs was delightful. More importantly, it came as a relief to the fans of Red Sox Nation.
Last week the Red Sox dropped two to the Orioles followed by searing losses to the Yankees. In response, the Red Sox made changes to their startling lineup to stop the bleeding. In their first game with a new lineup, Dustin Pedrioa hit 6th for the first time ever. Xander Bogaerts hit leadoff followed by Andrew Benintendi hitting second. Whatever influenced the Red Sox to change to the starting lineup was effective. Despite giving up a home run to Kris Bryant, Drew Pomeranz kept the rest of the Cubs at bay until the Red Sox offense kicked in. He didn’t have to wait long.
In the bottom of the first, Benintendi hit a home run into the Red Sox bullpen to tie the game 1-1. By the end of the first inning, Boston was on top 5-1. Twitter and Facebook lit up with posts exclaiming “Good morning, bats!” It wasn’t just that the Red Sox change to the lineup was effective, it worked against reigning World Series Champs.
Pomeranz’s Domination Another Unexpected Red Sox Change
Drew Pomeranz was less than stellar last season. Despite making the 2016 National League All-Star team, Pomeranz struggled in Boston by going 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA in the second half of the season. But he’s 2-1 in four starts so far this season. While pitchers like Rick Porcello and Chris Sale struggle to get the run support they need, Pomeranz is learning how to hold his own.
Now that the Red Sox know that changes to their lineup can be effective, hopefully their pitching rotation can change too. Pitchers like Porcello and Steven Wright have a lot of adjusting to do, but looking at the way their teammates are adapting to change might give them a few ideas of their own. That might include skipping Wright and Porcello in favor for Eduardo Rodriguez or someone from AAA. That would given Porcello and Wright some time off to rethink their strategies.