BOSTON -- The first Red Sox lineup of the season was unsurprising and an attempt to strike a right-left balance, as manager John Farrell explained it Monday morning.
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Sandy Leon C
Bogaerts, who can be the best hitter for average the Sox have if he’s going right, batting sixth stands out. But he had a poor second half last year, and it’s probably worth seeing what version shows up to begin this year — although Farrell did not say that.
“First of all, you’ve got a two-time Silver Slugger award winner that’s dropping down in the order,” Farrell said. “That’s more product of the depth of the group that we have. We’ve got probably four or five guys that are capable of hitting in the two- or three-hole on this team. But to keep some balance, some left-right balance throughout and potentially not allow some obvious matchups from opposing bullpens, Bogey going to the six-hole is the choice made.
“And I’m sure we’re going to have many different looks throughout the course of the year in the lineup, but this is where we start.”
Also consider that loading the top of the lineup with Pedroia, Betts, Bogaerts and Benintendi, in whatever order, would probably make the lineup incredibly top heavy. That can be a good thing, because those guys are more likely to get more plate appearances, but a much less reliable bottom half of the lineup doesn’t sound good either.
“I think there are producers all the way through this lineup,” Farrell said when asked if he was trying to avoid a top-heavy feel. “There are different styles of hitters. There are more streaky hitters. When you look at Panda today in the eight-hole, he can be as good as anyone in our lineup. Just try to stay away from four consecutive right-handers. And then the potential of left-handers matching up more readily in the bottom half.”