The Red Sox will feature one of the most dynamic batting orders of the 2011 baseball season. The additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez improved what had already been a potent offense. If not for the abundance of lefties, the offensive core could be used interchangeably throughout the order. However, the lack of right handed batters means that utilizing Pedroia and Youkilis will be crucial in keeping the offense safe from left-handed pitching.
Both Crawford and Pedroia are perfect examples of a number two batter. This spot requires offensive versatility, as a well-rounded batter in the two spot can have a huge effect on the rest of the lineup. Pedroia’s 110 runs a year and Crawford’s 14 annual triples both make for a great table setter. While Crawford has experience throughout the batting order, Pedroia has primarily batted second. Common sense says leave Dustin where he is. However, if manager Terry Francona is willing to use Pedroia elsewhere in the lineup, it allows for some exciting possibilities.
The entire offense would benefit from Pedroia moving down in the order, as this will allow Crawford to bat in the second spot. That in turn means Youkilis and Gonzalez could be in the three and four spots. Otherwise, with Pedroia at the two spot, 3-5 would be Crawford, Youkilis and Gonzalez, respectively. That would not best utilize the skill sets of any of these three batters.
Either Pedroia or Ortiz could take the fifth spot in the order I’ve proposed so far. Using Pedroia for fifth and Ortiz for six allows for the best right/left handed lineup possible. Batting Pedroia fifth, followed by Ortiz and Drew creates a great run-scoring combination, especially for the lower part of the lineup.
Pedroia would be able to handle being an RBI man, as he averages 49 doubles a season. The opportunity to bat with more RISP should transition to a good RBI total. Furthermore, Francona has shown faith in his second baseman’s ability to knock in runs- after all, injuries have allowed for Francona to bat him at cleanup in the past. Redefining Pedroia’s role is a risk worth taking. It allows for an amazing batting order, while maintaining the crucial balance of righties and lefties.
- L – Jacoby Ellsbury
- L – Carl Crawford
- R – Kevin Youkilis
- L – Adrian Gonzalez
- R – Dustin Pedroia
- L – David Ortiz
- L – J.D. Drew
- S – Varitek/ S Saltalamachia
- R – Scutaro/ S Lowrie
This batting order would allow all nine batters to be in a spot in which their particular offensive skill sets are best utilized, while also protecting Francona’s lineup from left handed relief pitching. Even with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia will be even more vital to the success of the Red Sox than they have been in the past.