BOSTON -- Sox manager John Farrell is still open to shaking up the Red Sox lineup. Three runs were enough Sunday night behind an excellent David Price, but it’s still been a rough stretch for the Sox of late offensively.
However, the top of the order -- Mookie Betts in the leadoff spot, followed by Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts -- remains the same for Monday night's game against the Blue Jays. They’ve each occupied those slots more than anyone else this season: Betts 65 times, Pedroia 48 times and Bogaerts 60 times.
“Haven’t completely gone away from [the possibility of changing the batting order],” Farrell said. “We have the top three guys, a lot of it is pretty consistent. If you look at the individual matchups against Marcus Stroman here tonight . . . players know what they do against opposing pitchers. And that’s not to say it’s a guarantee for success but I’d like to think guys will come in and say, ‘You know what, I’ve had some success against this guy in the past, let’s take a run with it.’ That’s where we are.”
Against Stroman, Betts is 6-for-19 (.316), Bogaerts 10-for-20 (.500) and Pedroia 7-for-15 (.467).
Moving Betts to a different spot in the lineup -- such as the two- or three-hole, so his first at-bat could come with someone on base -- has been a point of public debate.
“Mookie is not a typical leadoff type of guy,” Farrell said. “Granted, he’s got more power than many other leadoff types, but the ability to get on base, the ability to steal a base, those are parts of the profile that you’d ideally like to get. A little bit of speed to maybe disrupt the defense. But I think over the past probably five, six years, lineup construction has taken a completely different look, where so many teams had looked at the No. 3 spot in the order as your most pivotal. That’s your best hitter.
“A lot of teams now are putting that guy in the two-hole. I’m sure there’s a lot of debate, a lot of sabermetric approach that goes into where you want your so-called best hitter. Bottom line is, you want your guys who get on base the most get to the plate the most often, so you stack the top of your order as best as you can.”
Farrell made clear he wants his on-base guys up top -- that’s his most important criteria. Pedroia leads the team at .385, followed by four players in the .350-range: Bogaerts (.357), Jackie Bradley Jr. (.353), Andrew Benintendi (.352) and Betts (.352).
Benintendi’s had 40 starts in the two-hole.
While Farrell waits on possible lineup alterations, he has altered his rotation so that Chris Sale and David Price get an extra day of rest. Sale, throughout his career, has often pitched on extra rest and the Sox seem to want to keep it that way.
Here’s how it lines up, with seven pitchers in seven days:
- Monday vs. Toronto: Eduardo Rodriguez
- Tuesday vs. Toronto: Brian Johnson
- Wednesday vs. Toronto: Drew Pomeranz
- Thursday vs. Toronto: Doug Fister
- Friday at Anaheim: Chris Sale
- Saturday at Anaheim: David Price
- Sunday at Anaheim: Rick Porcello
Porcello previously was wedged in between Sale and Price.
“The two most similar [pitchers] might be Eddie and David,” Farrell said. “Just trying to split those two guys up, where Chris has got a different arm slot, different type of stuff, different action on the breaking balls.”