The Red Sox were second in runs to the hated Yankees last season without Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Now we have them and I struggled for a few minutes trying to put together our new batting order. I saw a lineup on ESPN which had Dustin Pedroia leading off and Jacoby Ellsbury batting ninth. I could not believe what I was seeing. Here is my 2011 Boston Red Sox batting order:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
J D Drew RF
Jed Lowrie SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
There are alot of left handed hitters in this lineup, but that is what we have to work with. Besides, adjusting the fence in right field to bring the bullpens up to code and make it safe for the relievers warming up makes this left handed lineup easier to understand.
Why have Ellsbury lead off? Remember 2009? Ellsbury was scary at the top of the lineup batting .300 and stealing 70 bases. He was sidetracked last year with his move to left but I am betting this year he returns to form. Pedroia batting second is a no-brainer, he always gets the bat on the ball and can hit to right – And he is Dustin Pedroia and his “laser show” can fit in anywhere effectively. Carl Crawford has said that he likes hitting third. He has shown an uptick in power and he will drive in alot of runs hitting behind Ellsbury and Pedroia. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting cleanup, another easy call. He is a 30-40 homer and 100 RBI guy and he should be even better in this lineup. Name a better 5 hole hitter than Kevin Youkilis in baseball. A career .294 hitter with a .394 OBP that has been improving his power numbers year to year. Big Papi needs to have a big year if he wants another big contract. Batting 6th in this lineup might put a little chip on his shoulder. A chip that could lead to another 35 HR and 100 RBI season. J D Drew says that it doesn’t matter where he hits in the lineup so batting 7th should not phase him at all, he did it many times last season. He is a good hitter that can carry a team for short periods of time. (Side note – J D, Are you a football fan? If so, please tune in too any Patriots game this year and watch the heart and the emotion that these guys play with. And after you do that, figure out a way for you to play a Little more like that – in simple terms – Show that you give a crap!)
I am hoping that Jed Lowrie takes over at shortstop. If he is healthy I think that he is another potential .300/15 HR guy. And he is a switch hitter. Batting at the bottom and catching I have Saltalamacchia. Catch and call a good game, throw out a few runners and stick a hit in there every now and then and he should be fine.
Injuries killed the Sox last year. Getting Pedroia, Youk and Ellsbury back healthy combined with Crawford and Gonzalez being added to the lineup puts the Sox right back on top where they belong.