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Thursday, 08 June 2017 20:21

Wednesday's Red Sox Lineup Was More Offensive Than David Price's Rant

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Red Sox fans had the same expression on Wednesday night when they saw Farrell's lineup vs. the Yankees. Red Sox fans had the same expression on Wednesday night when they saw Farrell's lineup vs. the Yankees.

Although everyone is still talking about what David Price did after Wednesday's 8-0 loss, what was even more disgraceful was the lineup that John Farrell started in a game that could have put the Red Sox back in first place in the AL East.

I’ve been on the #FireFarrell bandwagon for quite a while now.  I really think the Red Sox would have been better off if they had fired John Farrell in either 2015 or 2016 and replaced him with Torey Lovullo, who by the way is doing a fabulous job managing the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.  I personally think that Farrell has never proven that he is even close to being a competent manager, and even though he has a ring from the 2013 World Series champions, he should not be leading any MLB team, nevermind the one that I love.

I understand that my opinion is an unpopular one to many of the loyal Red Sox fans, but what cannot be debated is that Farrell’s handling of the starting lineup in recent weeks has been downright baffling and infuriating.

If you don’t believe me, check out the lineup he trotted out there Wednesday night, in a game that could have vaulted the Red Sox back into a tie for first place in the tight AL East with a victory (which was basically impossible judging from the players who were starting compared to those sitting on his bench):

1.       Mookie Betts

2.       Chris Young

3.       Xander Bogaerts

4.       Hanley Ramirez

5.       Sam Travis

6.       Sandy Leon

7.       Josh Rutledge

8.       Jackie Bradley Jr.

9.       Deven Marrero

Hitters 5 through 9, with the exception of JBJ, are Triple-A players at best.  Sam Travis could project to be an everyday hitter, but he’s not ready for that yet and definitely not ready to hit out of the five-spot at Yankee Stadium against a veteran pitcher who is having a very good season.  Sandy Leon has regressed back to his normal .200 average, while Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero are only on this team because Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt are hurt and the team has no confidence that Pablo Sandoval can play more than a day or two at a time without needing a day off.  Just think about that for a minute… they’d rather play a guy hitting .159 than Sandoval even when the Panda is healthy.  Yeah that makes sense too.

Hell, I’m a noted Rick Porcello detractor, but I would have been perfectly fine – in fact it probably would’ve made me like the guy – if he was the one flipping out in the locker room after the game instead of David Price.  I mean, look at what his manager is putting out there while he’s facing one of the better lineups in the AL.  How exactly did you want him to win the game, or even keep his team close?  Once he gave up one run he was screwed.

That lineup looks like something you would trot out there in meaningless games in late September, not one that would be facing the Yankees in June in what us fans thought would be a pivotal series.  The team had won 11 out of their last 15 games, including Tuesday’s 5-4 win over their rivals that got the Sox within a game of first place.  A win or a loss right now could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing out, especially in the AL East where all five teams are within striking distance and could be in contention at season’s end.

If this was the first time something like this occurred then maybe I could forgive Farrell, but it’s happening a lot in the last couple weeks.  For some unknown reason, he has been benching Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland and the same time, as they missed two consecutive games against the White Sox at the end of May, then they both sat on June 1st and tonight as well.  Benintendi and Moreland have been in the heart of the lineup for the entire season, and both hit home runs on Tuesday night, so it’s not like they are killing the production of the rest of the team when they play. 

Benintendi was going through a pretty lengthy slump in May, but the way to get him out of that slump is to give him at-bats, not to rest him.  Plus, he’s your everyday left fielder so he should be out there every day.  That’s what that concept means John.

Same thing with Moreland.  He’s your everyday first baseman.  That’s why you signed him in the offseason. 

I’m fine with the occasional days off.  Every player needs them.  The baseball season is extremely long, and you are going to need your top players to be fresh down the stretch.  But I don’t get why all of a sudden both of these guys are sitting almost as much as they are playing.

If the reason is that the Sox are facing a left-handed pitcher, then that is a sorry excuse.  This offense has been very inconsistent all season long, and the Sox don’t have the bench (as clearly seen from that lineup above) to mix and match for starting pitchers.  The team is playing better as of late, and the guys that are producing should be in the lineup every game. 

If you want to get Chris Young a start here and there, that’s fine.  But it shouldn’t always come at the expense of your top prospect and one of the best young players in the game.  Benintendi has had a whopping 62 career at-bats against left-handed pitchers.  If they really believe that he is the future of the team – which most of us fans already think is true – then the team needs to put Benintendi out there against southpaws.  He needs to figure out how to hit them.  He broke out of his slump by getting at-bats, and that’s the same way he’ll become a better hitter against lefties.  Sitting him does him no good, it has the potential to sap his confidence, and it is detrimental to the team.

Speaking of detrimental to the team, benching Benintendi, Moreland, and Christian Vazquez at the same time is totally idiotic.  Their replacements aren’t close to the hitters that those three are, and they don’t come close defensively either.  Young is serviceable, and Sam Travis might be an everyday player in the near future, so getting them a start every once in a while is okay.  They shouldn’t be playing at the same time though. 

And we’ve seen enough of Sandy Leon this season to see that last year was a fluke.  He’s not going to hit .300 with power consistently, and he doesn’t have the arm that Vazquez does.  It’s time to stop with the platoon at catcher and just give the starting job to Vazquez.  Leon has caught Chris Sale and Rick Porcello this season, but it may be time to give Vazquez a shot at catching both of them.  It couldn’t hurt Porcello’s season, since he has struggled at times this year, and Sale is going to be here in Boston for a while so why not start a relationship with Vazquez sooner rather than later?  Pitchers shouldn’t need their own personal catcher, especially when there’s a huge disparity between the batting averages of their two possible battery mates.

I think the most alarming part of this whole article is the fact that this should be common sense to anyone with even a normal baseball IQ.  I really didn’t have to do a whole lot of research to lay out the reasons why Wednesday’s lineup should never happen in my lifetime again.  And yet I know within a week or two we are going to see either the same abomination or something even worse.  Which is why I’m ending this column the same way it started:

#FireFarrell

If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!

Adam Belue

My name is Adam Belue, I'm from Fall River, MA, and I'm a sports fanatic.  I'll watch and write about just about any and every sport, even the fringe ones that aren't really sports like bowling, poker, and ultimate frisbee.  I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and a self-proclaimed New England Patriots hater (and proud of it!)... which makes my job in a sporting goods store quite interesting.  I'm a big fan of the other local teams (Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics), along with the Alabama Crimson Tide and college football as a whole.  I may be a bit obsessed (or a lot obsessed) with Taylor Swift, and I've seen her in concert four times so far... some of the best times I've had by the way her concerts are quite the experience!  I'm also a huge tennis fan, and have played the sport for a good majority of my life.  I wish more people watched and appreciated tennis.  I'm currently a part of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox Beat Team on CLNS Radio, and post a weekly fantasy football and college football column during the season.