Why Haven’t We Seen a Regular Red Sox Lineup This Spring

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As part of the my daily routine I wait for the Red Sox lineup to be posted so I can check out who’s playing in the latest Grapefruit League contest.  After yesterday’s disapointing 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays, I went back and looked at the starting lineups again only to confirm my puzzling yet frustrating train of thought.  Why haven’t we seen a regular lineup from the Red Sox this spring?

Every game there are three or four regulars starting and they are surrounded with a bunch of prospects destined for the minor leagues the second that camp is complete.  Perhaps I’m out to lunch on this one and if I am please tell me so I can quit stewing on this.  But yesterday the Blue Jays had no problem icing what looked eerily similar to what their Opening Day lineup card could look like.  Let’s compare yesterday’s starting  lineups (courtesy of the Boston Globe):

RED SOX 

Aviles SS
Ellsbury CF
Gonzalez 1B
McDonald LF
Lavarnway DH
Kroeger RF
Shoppach C
Spears 3B
Hee 2B

BLUE JAYS (18-4-1)

Johnson 2B
Escobar SS
Bautista RF
Lind 1B
Encarnacion DH
Lawrie 3B
Thames LF
Rasmus CF
Mathis C

It’s great to see players like Aviles and Lavarnway getting their at-bats in as their offensive production could hinder their chances of making the starting lineup on April 5th. Maybe not so much for Lavarnway but certainly whether or not he starts the season in Pawtucket will be based on his plate production.  Then we have Kroeger, Spears and Hee towards the bottom of the lineup.  If Mike Aviles is going to be the starting shortstop then wouldn’t it be best to get some playing time in with Dustin Pedroia so the two of them are comfortable with each other?

Which leads me to today’s lineup against the Phillies.  Both Pedroia and Jose Iglesias are starting which could be worth reading between the lines there.  We know Bobby V wants Iglesias with the big club.

But here again we have a decent lineup but far from what it will look in Detroit in early April.

RED SOX
Punto 3B
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Ross LF
Salty C
Sweeney RF
Iglesias SS
Repko CF
Anderson 1B

Now I understand Youkilis is day-to-day with back stiffness, hence having Punto play third today.  But this pattern wasn’t just created over the weekend.  Rather it’s been this way for the past week, even after more roster cuts were made.

I’ve always said baseball players are creatures of habit and the best way for them to find their routine is by doing it everyday.  We are ten days away from Opening Day and so far we have yet to see many players suit up on back-to-back days.  Take Jarrod Saltalamacchia for example.  He’s batting just .211 this spring and the last thing he needs is a slow start in April.  Maybe his timing isn’t where it needs to be, or maybe the hip bursitis is still lingering.  If it’s not the latter then wouldn’t it make sense to get him additional at-bats so he can work on his timing?

I don’t like to question Bobby V’s method as it quite possibly has a lot of madness behind it.  But heaven forbid if some of his regulars start slow in April and the words timing or repetition leak out from some of the everyday players.

Again, if I’m way off track then please someone let me know.  When I see many other clubs doing what the Blue Jays did it’s hard to think otherwise.

There, that’s my Monday morning rant.  To use the words from our staff writer Earl Nash….Onward!

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