Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Francona Pulls Lineup Out of His Hat

Some old-time manager, can't remember who, when his offense was scuffling, used to write nine names on scraps of paper in his hat and pull them out one-by-one, and that was his batting order for the day. Red Sox Manager Terry Francona didn't do that today, as we get set for Game 4 of the ALCS, but he did shake up his lineup in a quite jarring way -- with J.D. Drew in the leadoff spot.

Actually, it makes more sense than you'd think. Back in August, when he was searching for a lineup, Francona used Drew in the leadoff spot in eight games. It made sense because Drew is a high-OBP guy (.408 this season, .392 career), and the Red Sox believe getting on base (as opposed to possessing speed) is the primary attribute they want in a leadoff hitter. Also, the Red Sox went 6-2 in those eight games.

Also tonight, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Varitek, both mired in awful slumps, are on the bench.

Changes tonight for the Rays, too, though not as drastic -- with Willy Aybar at DH and Fernando Perez in right field.

Here they are, in full:

Akinori Iwamura - 4
B.J. Upton - 8
Carlos Pena - 3
Evan Longoria - 5
Carl Crawford - 7
Willy Aybar - DH
Dioner Navarro - 2
Fernando Perez - 9
Jason Bartlett - 6
(Andy Sonnanstine - 1)

Red Sox:
J.D. Drew - 9
Dustin Pedroia - 4
David Ortiz - DH
Kevin Youkilis - 5
Jason Bay - 7
Mark Kotsay - 3
Coco Crisp - 8
Kevin Cash - 2
Jed Lowrie - 6
(Tim Wakefield - 1)

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 14, 2008; 4:57 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Joe Torre: Goat or Scapegoat?
Next: Wakefield in the ALCS: Bring Your TUMS


Also interesting that Crisp is in the RBI position and Lowrie is in the second leadoff position.

As you note, Francona's used Drew leadoff before. The Sox have won, but he did not hit well in the leadoff spot. Small sample size in 2008, but 39 PAs, .172 / .385 /.207, with a freakishly low BABIP of .217. Career 275 PAs, .243 / .350 / .391, with a more normal but not good .275 BABIP.

Since the Manny trade, the Red Sox have been stuck with Youk batting clean up. Recall last fall when they started the world series with Pedroia & Youk as #1 & #2. This line up seems like a reversion to the Red Sox philosophy of grinding at bats rather than the "we can beat you multiple ways" orientation of Lugo - Crisp - Ellsbury ## 8, 9 & 1 earlier in the year.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 14, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Youk has been effective at clean up and has much more power than last year or the years before. However, the way he works counts, you'd think they'd rather have an option of moving him back to #2. Without Lowell, the only other option would have been Pedroia / Youk / Ortiz / Bay / Drew ...

Posted by: PTBNL | October 14, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I think it was Billy Martin who did the hat trick.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 14, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse


The irascible Billy Martin (and I'm sure there have been others) indeed resorted to the names-out-of-a-hat lineup during his managerial career, especially when his teams were on a losing streak. I seem to recall an occasion when the diminutive Eddie Brinkman hit in the cleanup spot and came up with a big hit to stop a skid for Martin's Tigers.

Posted by: blueson | October 14, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the confirmation and the anecdote, blueson.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 14, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Some old stuff on lineups (within reason, they don't actually affect a game much, apparently), with a gratuitous shot at Guzzie.

April 04, 2005
Batter Up!
The season can't start until the lineup card is filled in, and that's a lot more complicated than you would think
Tom Verducci

Posted by: ce | October 15, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company