Meegan’s “Hot Seat”: How did Terry Francona find himself in this position?
This week in Meegan’s “Hot Seat” I’m going to do things a little backwards. Usually, I look at who is the “Hottest” first, but this week I will start off with who is in the “Hot Seat.”
Terry Francona himself is sitting on the “Hot Seat” this week! Are you wondering how someone who doesn’t throw a pitch, swing a bat, or play defensive, gets themself into this position? Read on and see for yourself.
Spiderman learned, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So will Francona. You won’t find Tito spinning webs and battling the Green Goblin. Instead, you will see him filling out lineup cards that will best battle the Green Monster. Francona has a very powerful lineup and it all falls on his shoulder how he decides to utilize his strength. He will have to decide who, when, and where everyone needs to be on any given night.
Terry Francona raised a few eyebrows this week with his announcement of the starting rotation, and now he is thinking of tinkering with the opening day lineup. It was a no brainer to slot Jon Lester first and Daiskue Matsuaka in fifth positions. I’m even ok with his decision to drop Beckett to the fourth spot. What I question is John Lackey ahead of Clay Buchholz in the rotation.
Lackey is having a good spring, but so is Buchholz. In this new era of pitching dominance, the key to every game seems to be the pitching match ups. When you look at the starting rotation around the American League, don’t you feel that Buchholz is more suited in the two hole? Take the Yankees, for example, I would much rather see Buchholz matched up against Phil Hughes than Lackey. But on the other hand, a Buchholz vs. A. J. Burnett match up definitely favors the Sox. My gut feeling is Lackey and Buchholz need to flip flop their spots in the rotation.
Now I’m hearing rumors that Francona wants to bat Jacoby Ellsbury ninth on opening day instead of leadoff. Not so fast there, Tito. Even though the Sox will be facing the left-handed C.J. Wilson on opening day, hasn’t Ellsbury been one of the hottest hitters this spring? Why mess with Ellsbury’s psyche? It finally appears that Ellsbury is ready to live up to his potential. In one of my recent polls here on Bosoxinjection, the majority of us feel the Ellsbury is best suited in the leadoff position. https://bosoxinjection.com/2011/02/19/terry-francona-decisions-decisions/ His speed is game changing. Do you really want to take the chance that Ellsbury wont get an at bat until the third inning? Not me, I can tell you that.
I could have very easily put Jonathan Papelbon on the “Hot Seat” for the second week in a row. But, I think all eyes are going to be on Francona as opening day nears. He is the field general, the puzzle master, the one who needs to decide what puts the Sox in the best position to win. I think his decisions this week certainly leaves us “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” with a lot to talk about.
Now on to this week’s “Hottest.” How could I not give it to John Lackey? Yes, he had another good start this week. For the same reason I place Francona in the “Hot Seat”, I named Lackey the “Hottest.” Anyone who can bypass Beckett and Buchholz in the rotation deserves the honor of strutting their stuff!
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