The Sox didn’t exactly dominate the first leg of their tour through Pennsylvania. What happened? Well, lots of things.
They didn’t score many runs. They didn’t get a hit with runners in scoring position. They fielded like a Little League team. It was just a mess. Even in yesterday’s win, it’s not like they set the world on fire. They just avoided the sweep. What, if anything, can we as Sox fans take away from the series? Terry Francona made the absolute correct call in sitting David Ortiz and playing Adrian Gonzalez at first.
What? The Red Sox lost because they had trouble scoring runs. They needed to have both he and A-Gone in the line-up! That’s sort of true. Yes, the Red Sox line-up is better with both guys in there. That much is obvious. Once you get by Youkilis in the four spot, the rest is pretty sad. If you remove Ortiz and the injured Crawford, any line-up would take a hit. But, when Drew is slumping, and so is Scutaro, it makes things even worse. Of course another big bat in there would help. But, look back at the series. Where were the Sox specifically hurt by not putting Gonzalez in the outfield? Ortiz was able to bat three times. Once in each game. Not only was he batting, but they were all key at-bats. He even scored an all-important insurance run is yesterday’s game. If Ortiz had started, he would have only gotten an additional two or three at bats a game. Would those all have been very important? Would we be putting Gonzalez in the outfield just to allow Ortiz to bat with the bases empty and two outs in the fifth inning? And, if memory serves, the outfielders did pretty well this weekend. I heard Reddick’s name more than once. Would having Ortiz in there instead have improved things very much? Not likely. What about Gonzalez himself? He was a monster. Clearly he needs to be in the game as often as possible. But, what happened yesterday? He was intentionally walked a couple times. So, is the plan to put him in the outfield in order to get him at bats to be walked? Is that worth making the team weaker at two positions? It doesn’t seem like it.
If Bud Selig decided that for the rest of the season the Sox would play in the NL, I can see putting Gonzalez in the outfield. Over a long period of time, it might make a difference. Over a few games, though, it’s just not worth the trouble.
Don’t move the cornerpiece.