Manager John Farrell continues to throw lineups together that catch players and fans off guard at times. The real question is, when, if ever, will the Red Sox have a relatively stable lineup?
For the time being, there probably won’t be one. Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli have all hit the DL in the past couple of weeks, which partially accounts for the Red Sox poor run production over their recent skid. It also means that the healthy players can’t get too comfortable in the lineup.
Dustin Pedroia, Grady Sizemore, and rookie Xander Bogaerts have all bounced around the lineup and have all gone through slumps at various points of the year. Before Victorino went on the DL, some were hoping the Sizemore experiment would be abandoned, but the rejuvenated outfielder continues to show signs of his old self.
Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to have a tough time at the plate, but had a key hit in last night’s win over the Braves. Obviously, Bradley projects to be the team’s future center fielder, so the team may decide to stick with him through the good and bad.
The addition of Stephen Drew obviously puts Bogaerts and Middlebrooks in a tough place. Bogaerts will most likely have to move over to third base, while Middlebrooks may be out of a job with this team. Middlebrooks does, however, hit left-handed pitching much better than Stephen Drew and could provide value in those situations or off the bench.
Basically, the Red Sox have a few too many players on their roster if everyone is healthy. I am guessing at least one of these position players will be either dealt or let go by the trade deadline. If Sizemore can’t raise his average to around the .250 mark, he might be gone. If Mike Carp can’t add the pop that he did last season, he could be trade bait. Same goes for Middlebrooks.
With all this being taken into account, here is my guess for the Sox lineup against righties down the stretch.
1. Xander Bogaerts- 3B
2. Shane Victorino- RF
3. Dustin Pedroia- 2B
4. David Ortiz- DH
5. Mike Napoli- 1B
6.Jonny Gomes- LF
7. A.J. Pierzynski- C
8. Stephen Drew- SS
9. Jackie Bradley Jr.- CF
Maybe the Red Sox will acquire a bat at the deadline to help their struggling offense. If not, hopefully this lineup can produce similar results as last year.