Game 111 for the Red Sox goes tonight and the lineup that was announced has a curious name on it. Nick Punto will get the start at third base tonight over Will Middlebrooks and the flashy, Pedro Ciriaco.
Why Bobby V is starting Punto is beyond me. While no word has come out if Middlebrooks is battling an injury, the move to have the weak hitting Punto in against a power house offense like the Rangers is mind boggling. The Red Sox need offense and Nick Punto most definetly does not give them that. Ciriaco on the other hand, most certainly does.
On the season, Punto is hitting a pathetic .204. His OBP of .307 is surprising given his batting average. Punto has one home run and nine RBI to go with four stolen bases.
Ciriaco is hitting .338 with an OBP of .346, with one long ball and eleven RBI. He has six steals on the season. But it’s the manner in which Ciriaco delivers that makes this argument compelling against Punto. Ciriaco hits in the clutch, while Punto only hits into double plays. Pedro can make something out of nothing, while Nick just makes nothing.
I’m all for a player resting every now and then, so if Middlebrooks is just getting a day off, fine. But then it should be Ciriaco in the lineup and not Punto. Oddly enough, the last time we saw Ciriaco was his pinch-hit home run on the weekend against the Twins. Let’s hope for Bobby’s sake that both Pedro and Middlebrooks are nursing a nagging injury.
Here is the rest of the lineup that will see Ryan Dempster for the first time since 2001, courtesy of the Globe.
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36)