No Youkilis Hurts the Lineup
Kevin Youkilis has once again been forced to be a spectator for the Red Sox thanks to a sports hernia and bursitis in his hip.
The All-Star third baseman was forced to miss Friday night’s thrilling victory and will again be left to cheer for his club from the dugout during Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Youkilis is the type of player that gives it his all when he’s playing and when you throw in the physical demands of playing the “hot corner” it has taken it’s toll on the Ohio native.
While he’s scheduled for offseason surgery to mend the sports hernia, Youkilis feels he’s still able to contribute for the final month of the season and postseason, should Boston make it to October.
It’s been evident that Youkilis has been less than 100% for quite some time. Since the All-Star break, Youk is batting just .199 with 4 homers in 136 at-bats; his worst half of any season since he’s become a regular with Boston.
Not having Youkilis in the lineup hurts this club. Sure there are others who are capable of playing third base. Jed Lowrie and Mike Aviles have done a great job defensively filling in at third, but their bats aren’t nearly the threat like that of Youkilis. When swinging a healthy bat, Youkilis makes the first five in the Red Sox lineup a legitimate threat to smack a home run or a long double off the monster. Not many clubs have the type of offensive lineup the Red Sox do when everyone is healthy.
The other side of not having Youkilis in the linuep is it hurts David Ortiz, who is now batting fourth. Big Papi doesn’t see good pitches when he doesn’t have Youk on deck and we saw example of this last night. After Ortiz had gone 2 for 2 and a runner on, James Shields was very careful not to give Ortiz anything he could drive. The result was a four pitch walk and left Shields facing Josh Reddick instead. Reddick popped up to secure the second out in the inning, one that Shields would get out of unscaved.
Having Youkilis on deck in that type of situation forces pitchers to pitch to Ortiz and not around him. They know if they work around Ortiz that Youkilis is next and he can and will hurt opposing pitchers with runners on base.
The Red Sox haven’t written off Youkilis for the rest of the year, but he’s certainly going to be under the microscope regarding his condition. Let’s hope that a couple of days off will provide enough time for his hip to mend enough so he can play regularly and help his team get into the playoffs.
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