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)
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)
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