On Monday night’s game, the Red Sox were as close to a perfect lineup as they’ve been all year. Jacoby Ellsbury was back and leading off, Carl Crawford in the two hole, and five members of the opening day lineup were starting. Only Pedro Ciriaco and Will Middlebrooks were not members of the Opening Day lineup (and they’ve performanced admirably since their promotions). David Ortiz‘s heel injury has complicated matters, but at the moment– the Red Sox are as healthy as they’ve been all season.
It was such a breath of fresh air to see Carl Crawford stand in and single up the middle in his first at bat of the season. He would score in that inning and in the game went 1-3 with a run scored and a walk. Last night, Crawford continued to prove that he really is back by turning in a great night in a losing effort against Chicago. He went 3-4 with two runs scored, two stolen bases, and an RBI to improve himself to 4-7 (.571) since returning to the major leagues. To have that kind of early production from someone who was such a disappointment last year is really reassuring.
With a clean slate ahead of them for the second half, the Red Sox are as healthy as they’ve been all year. Crawford and Ellsbury have returned and supplied the Red Sox with something they’ve lacked all year: speed. Andrew Bailey should be returning in the next few weeks, Dustin Pedroia should be playing second base by the end of the week, and David Ortiz should be back in a week or so. The Red Sox are in a position to make a run, but they’ll need help from all of these big name additions.
We know that we can count on Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Ortiz; but Carl Crawford has something to prove. It’s possible that Crawford will continue to bat #2 even once Pedroia returns just to keep that fantastic speed at the top of the lineup. Say Crawford bats .300 the rest of the season and puts up decent production and steals maybe 20+ bases. Just imagine the extra runs that would create for Ortiz and Gonzalez than they’ve had all year with people like Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, and even Nick Punto at the top of the lineup. Going forward, Carl Crawford is the key to the Red Sox season in my opinion and he’s off to a great start.