While the Red Sox lineup has been stellar this season,
there is one spot on the field that has been lacking.
The aging and overpaid JD Drew has struggled at the plate all year, batting a lowly .232 with 4 HR and only 18 RBI. Drew fouled a ball off his face yesterday, so he may be out of the lineup anyways due to injury. Whether or not JD is healthy, it’s time for a drastic change in Right, at least for the next 6 games which are all in NL ballparks.
The Interleague illness plagued the Red Sox in Pittsburgh, where they dropped 2 out of 3 to the Pirates while struggling to fit both Big Papi and Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup. Since there is no DH spot available, the only way to get David Ortiz in the game is to play him at First Base. But the only Red Sox player hitting better than Ortiz is current First Baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzo is the best hitter in the Bigs right now, batting .361 (MLB best) with 16 HR and 71 RBI (MLB best). Before Interleague play began, Manager Terry Francona hinted he may move A-Gonz to right for some games to accommodate Ortiz. He did not employ this strategy in Pittsburgh, and the Sox suffered.
I know what you’re thinking:
You can’t move Gonzalez to the Outfield!! He’ll Get hurt!! Our season will be over!!
There may be a higher risk of injury in the Outfield running in open space pulling a hamstring, maybe colliding with someone or some thing. But there are plenty of risks playing First as well. There are runners coming at you full speed every time a ball is put in play. You chase foul balls toward the fence from the corner infield spot, too.
The most important thing to remember is that Gonzalez is a rational human being, and has already said he would take it easy if moved to the outfield. He would not be diving all over the place breaking his ribs like Jacoby Ellsbury last season.
He would not be sprinting toward center challenging for balls in the gap.
He would not try to be a hero.
He knows to that his chance to be a hero comes from inside the batter’s box.
I am sick of all the panic surrounding this idea. The Red Sox have the worst overall offensive production from the RF spot in the majors this year. Something has got to give, because we are about to take on one of the best starting rotations ever assembled.
This Philadelphia series is the biggest Interleague showdown in the MLB this year. While it is early, most fans believe this could be a sneak preview at the World Series match up. We have to put our best lineup on the field. Right now during Interleague play, our best lineup involves: Josh Reddick in Left, A-Gonz in right, and Papi at First. If we do not get Ortiz some at-bats it is going to ruin his rhythm, and we need our batting order to be on point to support our struggling rotation. If we do not bring out the big guns in all three games, the Philly rotation will tear us apart.