5-6-7

Ok, so three games isn't enough to yank someone from the lineup, and it's certainly not enough to start panicking about David Ortiz, who looks horrible every time he steps to the plate.

But surely we can all agree that David Ortiz is no longer the man who needs to be batting directly behind Kevin Youkilis in the Red Sox' lineup. One need only look to Youkilis' plate appearance with Jacoby Ellsbury on third in the first inning of last night's game, an appearance in which Youk received between zero and one hittable pitch in the five he saw. Ortiz promptly hit a hard ground ball into the shift.

Of course, Ortiz did later drive in Dustin Pedroia with the Red Sox' only run of the game. And who knows? He may turn it around against the Royals and mash for the rest of the season. But even if he does, he is unquestionably not as good a hitter anymore as J.D. Drew, who has been relegated to seventh in the lineup. Drew hasn't looked so hot either these first three games, but is there really any question who should be batting in the middle of the order and who should be closer to the bottom?

11 comments… add one
  • Why not try Lowell at DH for a few games?

    El Notational April 8, 2010, 9:36 am
  • Drew batting so low in the lineup never made sense to me. If the Red Sox think so highly of him, how can he bat 7th?
    Pedroia should be leading off, and Drew should be batting 2nd. Ellsbury should be batting ninth. It might not make too much of a difference, but you put your best on-base guys on the top of the lineup. I thought the Sox knew this.

    AndrewYF April 8, 2010, 10:52 am
  • If Tito want to stay loyal to Ortiz, fine. His choice. But he has to drop him in the order. Has to.

    ponch - sf April 8, 2010, 10:57 am
  • krueg April 8, 2010, 11:47 am
  • Perhaps Francona is suffering from Joe Torre-itis, a condition whereby commendable success breeds an over-reliance on – and loyalty to – the guys who “got you there” even while there may be better options for the present and future right before your eyes.
    How was Ortiz’s spring training? Did he show something there that might have led sox management to think he is still the best option for meat-of-the-order placement? How was it relative to Drew’s spring?

    IronHorse (YF) April 8, 2010, 11:51 am
  • Ortiz’s spring training was horrible, too, though who knows whether that means anything.
    The problem with having anyone other than Ellsbury in the leadoff spot is that everyone who tries the job ends up changing the way they play and starts to suck. Ellsbury was actually the Sox’ best leadoff hitter last year.
    Ellsbury was demoted from the leadoff spot last year on May 31 and replaced in succession by J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia (don’t remember who was tried first).
    Drew batting leadoff (64 PAs): .190/.299/.414
    Pedroia batting leadoff (116 PAs): .219/.287/.333
    So then they went back to Ellsbury on July 20, and he hit .310/.368/.439 from then to the end of the season.
    Ellsbury had a good game yesterday; I still think he’ll be a solid player based on that July 20-on line last year. That’s not the problem to me (though I wouldn’t object to hitting Drew second in any case). I just don’t understand why the guy who had an OPS all of seven points lower than Jason Bay last season is batting seventh in a lineup, behind David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre. Of the nine guys in the lineup, he had the second-highest OBP and SLG last year, and he’s batting seventh. It didn’t make sense before Game 1, and it doesn’t make sense now.

    Paul SF April 8, 2010, 12:04 pm
  • Paul’s probably right about Drew, although batting order probably only means a difference of a couple runs over the course of an entire season (provided you’re not doing anything over-the-top stupid).
    Even I’m starting to feel bad for Papi though – this is getting pretty ridiculous. 3 games means only a little bit more than nothing.
    Where Papi is now reminds a lot me of where Giambi was after 2003 – power and bat speed a bit diminished, trying to hit through the super-shift every at bat (probably robbing them both of about 20-30 points of batting average), and while still pretty effective on balance most of the time, prone to some horrific slumps.

    Mark (YF) April 8, 2010, 12:25 pm
  • Yes, sabermatically speaking, line-up isn’t the biggest deal there is, but I would definately run Drew out there at 5, and papi at somewhere between 7 and bench.
    I wonder what the optimal lineup looks like with Pinto’s too.

    dw (sf) April 8, 2010, 1:25 pm
  • If I recall correctly, Pedroia also said that he wasn’t comfortable in the lead-off spot.

    Atheose - SF April 8, 2010, 1:35 pm
  • figures, Pito’s lineup optimizer has Ortiz batting 4th for the best lineup. Of course the difference between best and worse isn’t that much.

    dw (sf) April 8, 2010, 1:54 pm
  • Teixiera is now 0-for-14 on the year. Just sayin’.

    Hudson April 9, 2010, 8:47 pm

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