August 20, 2009

Plenty of Lineup Choices For Francona

Q: Who leads the AL in home runs since the beginning of June?

Bill Eichenberger of The Sporting News asked Francona and a few Red Sox infielders about the mixing-and-matching of the Red Sox lineup:

[I]t is important that players understand that our goal is to win and sometimes you have to put your personal goals on the back burner. And our guys are very good at that.
Lowell (3B/DH):
It's kind of like a doubled-edged sword. ... [W]hen you are swinging the bat well, you really don't want to be out of the lineup. If I was 100 percent, things would be a little different. But I can't honestly look at anyone in the face in our upper management and say that I can go every single day and not feel any effects from (the surgery). ... Winning takes precedence over everything.
Martinez (C/1B/DH):
I really like to play both. I like to be behind the plate. I like to be at first. I think playing first gives me a needed break for my legs and my knees. Playing first also takes away a lot of stress mentally, too. I'm very happy with the way it's going right now.
Youkilis (1B/3B/DH):
I just go out there each day and put on a different glove, and wherever I'm playing try to field my position. It doesn't change what I do out there.
Kotchman (1B/DH):
We're just trying to get the most of the schedule that is left and get into the playoffs. ... I'm just happy to be a part of it, regardless of my role.
Jason Varitek and David Ortiz are also pieces of that puzzle.

Daisuke Matsuzaka could be back in the Red Sox rotation by the second week of September. Dice's schedule looks like this:
Fri 0821: side session
Mon 0824: 2-3 innings in Gulf Coast League game
Sat 0829: 50 pitches for Portland
Thu 0903: 65 pitches for Pawtucket
Tim Wakefield will throw approximately 75-80 pitches in a Pawtucket start on Friday.

Jason Varitek has missed the last two games with neck spsams. He is not sure if he'll play tonight. Dustin Pedroia is expected to be back in the lineup tonight.
Ortiz leads the AL with 18 home runs since June 1 (actually, Flo is tied with Kendry Morales of the Angels).

Ortiz's solo home run last night off Roy Halladay -- his 6th, more than any other player -- gave him 800 RBI with the Red Sox. Ortiz is the seventh player in club history to drive in that many runs, behind Carl Yastrzemski (1,844), Ted Williams (1,839), Jim Rice (1,451), Dwight Evans (1,346), Bobby Doerr (1,247) and Manny Ramirez (868).

It was also Ortiz's 265th career home run as a designated hitter; he is four behind Frank Thomas for the all-time record. Ortiz has homered in three consecutive games for the first time since July 2006.

Since being dropped to seventh in the batting order, Ortiz is 7-for-16 with four home runs, two doubles, seven RBIs, eight runs, and seven walks. He's hitting .438/.609/1.313 for a 1.921 OPS. Sure, it's only five games, but it's damn nice to see. Watching him go with an outside pitch and flick it into left field for a single or double is almost as satisfying as seeing a line-drive dong to right-center.

1 comment:

A Conformer said...

That Ortiz stat is... unexpected. It's funny how he's become sort of underrated, even though he's the biggest star in the team (as far as fame goes). Although, with his extreme hot and cold streaks, it makes sense.