Red Sox: Alex Cora shakes up his lineup in attempt to end losing streak

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Manager Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox delivers the lineup before game one of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 23, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Manager Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox delivers the lineup before game one of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 23, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox aim to end losing streak with lineup adjustments

Things haven’t been going well for the Red Sox as of late and the Fenway Faithful are growing a bit concerned. Despite an opening weekend series loss to the Orioles things have been growing pretty well for Boston in 2021. There have been some losses here and there but nothing that has been able to derail the early-season success of the club. Unfortunately, while other teams are starting to get warmed up as the temperature increases, Alex Cora’s side is freezing cold like a January morning.

For far too long this season the Red Sox have been relying on the big bats of the middle of their lineup. While that has been great up to this point it’s pretty clear that it isn’t a game plan that can be long-term. When the team was scoring double-digit runs on double-digit hits it was more than fine but that’s not the case right now. These guys have barely been able to string together a consistent game on offense and it’s allowed the rest of the league to catch up.

We all know how bad the 7-9 hitters are in the Red Sox lineup. They’re basically automatic outs and it feels like Cora is trotting out three pitchers to bat at the end of his order. I’m done with Franchy Cordero. He had one good game and while I got behind him thanks to that game he quickly threw that support right in the trash by reverting back to being terrible. Hunter Renfroe is close to that mark for me as well but his defense is keeping him in my good graces.

Then we get to Bobby Dalbec. Boston’s big rookie debut of 2020 has come crashing back down to Earth and despite a few big hits he’s been virtually absent for the Red Sox this year. Cora and Chaim Bloom have made it clear that Dalbec is their big project this year and they won’t be giving up on him any time soon. So what are Cora and Bloom to do? Well on the surface it’s time for a shuffle of the lineup which we’re finally seeing in tonight’s series finale with the Oakland A’s.

Michael Chavis is in for Marwin González at second and will also be leading off. That’s the first big change from the last few nights but there’s another one down the card that shows how desperate this team is to end the losing. We’re going to see the 2021 debut of Jonathan Araúz at shortstop which will shuffle Xander Bogaerts to the DH slot. Since Bogey is going to DH we’re going to see J.D. Martinez in left field which will give Cordero the night off.

These may not look like drastic changes on the surface but it is at least an attempt by Cora to change the course of what’s currently going on with his team. WEEI’s Lou Merloni has been calling for some roster changes on Monday’s off-day and I fully back that sentiment. Drop Cordero and bring up Danny Santana. He’s had more than enough time to shake off the rust and can be a spark for this lineup.

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Hell, send Austin Brice or Josh Taylor down to Worcester and bring up Jarren Duran as well. The game plan to have 14 pitchers to 12 position players isn’t going to work long term and it’s already showing cracks. It’s time to adjust and drop one or two of the weaker relievers to bring up some bats to reignite this offense. The season is still early but I’d much rather Boston make these adjustments now while there’s still plenty of time on the calendar than in July or August when it’s too late to get back on track.

This Red Sox team very well may have overachieved through the first month of the season but they’re still very good. The starters do more than their part to keep the club in every game and Matt Barnes has been one of the best closers in the game. Bostons bats have been loud on many a night while silent on others.

The key to their long-term success will be getting those guys outside of the 2-6 slots producing at the plate. It’ll allow the big boys to relax at the plate and not stress so much about doing all the work. Then the relievers need to hold the opposition and not wreck the work done before they entered the game.

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While on the surface the lineup changes made for tonight may not seem drastic and they don’t need to be. Those moves may come in a few days depending on how this weekend plays out and if the Red Sox can get out of this slump on their own. Tonight’s effort is at least a move in the right direction toward addressing the issues and trying to put guys in spots where they may be able to succeed. Whether it be fresh faces in the order or just some positional swaps, some change is better than none while acting like nothing is wrong.