Sorry, dude: you’re on the bench tonight…

October 22nd, 2007 → 10:33 am @ // 20 Comments

2007 ALCS Stats

Player 1: .500 BA, .576 OBP, .929 SLG, 1.505 OPS, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R, 1 2B

Player 2: .292 BA, .424 OBP, .542 SLG, .966 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B

Player 3: .333 BA, .375 OBP, .519 SLG, .894 OPS, 1HR, 8 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B

Player 4: .409 BA, .563 OBP, .727 SLG, 1.290 OPS, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 2B, 5 R

It’s an enviable position to be in, for sure…but next weekend’s games in Colorado mean one of these big four thumpers is going to be riding the pine at any given point. If you were just taking a gander at these numbers, you’d figure either player 2 or player 3 would be the odd man out, right? That’d mean that you’d be benching either Papi (Player 2) or Lowell (Player 3). My guess is that player 1 – that’s Youk, for those of you who haven’t figured it out by now, with Manny being Player 4 – is going to be the odd man out, at least at the beginning of any given game, but there’ll be plenty of chances for him to get in (filling in after a pinch runner, defensive replacement, etc).

Just to be a mild contrarian, I think there’s a good argument to be made for Youk to be starting lineup, displacing the consensus ’07 MVP at third. Youk is a good hitter on a torrid streak, and worse hitters have stayed white hot at crucial times: Think Bellhorn—whom I would have named co-WS MVP along with Foulke—and his game-winning homer in Game 1 of the ’04 WS along with his .700 SLG/1.263 OPS, or Todd Walker with a line of .349, .400, .778, 1.178 OPS as 5 HRs—out of 15 hits!—in the ’03 playoffs.

That’ll be one interesting thing to watch (along with the weather), when the Series gets to Denver next weekend. Another lineup development that should get some attention is situation in CF. I’ve been a fan of Coco’s all along, and the game-ending catch last night (I can’t find a pic or video clip, even in 101-page photo essay. Anyone else have any luck?) shows why. But Jacoby clearly is more comfortable at the plate, even if he’s not even close to comparable in center. (Check out the picture accompanying the story announcing that Jacoby would start Game 6 as evidence.) He’s good, to be sure…but we really have witnessed an historic defensive year from Covelli…if I was forced to decide, which, thank god, I’m not, I’d probably platoon them.
Lots of other things to discuss and mull over, of course, and hopefully we’ll all have time to do just that in the days to come. For now, congrats, folks. We’re going to the Series.


Post Categories: 2007 Playoffs & 2007 World Series & Coco Crisp & David Ortiz & Jacoby Ellsbury & Kevin Youkilis & Manny Ramirez

20 Comments → “Sorry, dude: you’re on the bench tonight…”


  1. umass_amherst

    6 years ago

    Yeah, Youk’s gotta start the non-dh games on the bench (he’s Player 1, no?). With Lowell entrenched in the 5 spot (in the batting order and on the field), would Drew be the logical choice to replace Youk in the 2nd spot in the batting order? Or move Jacoby (assuming he starts) to leadoff and bat Pedroia 2nd.

    Gotta love it…debating the batting order for Game 3 of the WS while the Yankees interview Tony Pena (how’d the Royals do when he was there coach?) to replace Torre. Good times!!

    Reply

  2. Shalomar

    6 years ago

    Given his knees and the talented lefties the Rockies have, I would give Big Papi a day off. Or at least the first several innings (play Youk against the lefty, bring in Papi when the starter leaves).

    I was impressed with the Rockies when they came to the Fens over the summer, but I cannot envision a scenario where they beat the Sox in a 7 game series.

    Sox in 5.

    Reply

  3. wired1

    6 years ago

    It will get lost in the shuffle, but that catch by Crisp was one of the greatest I have ever seen; great jump, covered a lot of ground, stretched out and collided with the wall.

    Reply

  4. TPIRman

    6 years ago

    “My guess is that player 4 – that’s Youk, for those of you who haven’t figured it out by now, with Manny being Player 4″

    Oops — Youk is player 1, isn’t he?

    Right you are – and now it’s fixed…thanks.

    - Seth

    Reply

  5. branatical

    6 years ago

    Who cares about the Sox, the Pats are 7-0!

    Just kidding.

    I was going to say it after the end of Game 5 on your mojo post, but I didn’t want to jinx anything, and man am I glad I didn’t say it…the double Drew hit at the end of Game 5 was a GREAT sign.

    I have been a Coco supporter from the start but God he makes it really hard. He is too tense at the plate, and he isn’t enjoying himself. I think this leads to the weak results and not vice versa. His catch was awesome though and I am happy he could contribute, hopefully that will take some pressure off. It’s a tough call for Francona. I also think he’ll have the CF’s split time. He has shown time and again that he sticks with his guys and the tactic always seems to pay off.

    The Mad Dog Chris Russo is taking the Rockies in 5! And both he and Mike said that the Sox would bench Youk in Colorado. Francona went with a rotation of the 3 (Lowell, Youk, Ortiz) during interleague – I think he’ll probably stay with that formula.

    How HUGE was last night’s game for Red Sox baseball in Japan? That was a great combined 7 innings by our Japanese friends. I bet they love Papelbon over there.

    Reply

  6. jmnaylor33

    6 years ago

    I think branatical is right – Tito is pretty much a creature of habit and so will rotate depending on matchups. Franklin Morales goes in Game 4, so maybe Ortiz sits that game?

    If you didn’t really care about defense, you could play Lowell at 3B, Ortiz at 1B, Youk in RF and Drew in CF, bringing in Coco or Ellsbury for defensive purposes. I’m not sure the potential defensive disaster would be worth a couple extra at bats from Youk or Lowell, though.

    Reply

  7. Arttung

    6 years ago

    Here’s a clip of The Catch, titled, “Sox win AL pennant.”

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20071021&content_id=2274665&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    Reply

  8. Jack

    6 years ago

    Admit it. You want Youkilis in there because it’d be like Jesse Owens in the ’36 Olympics. The Fundamentalist Rockies will be sh*tting their pants and looking for his horns as he is depositing balls onto the rockpile with the mighty swings of his Hebrew Hammer(tm).

    Reply

  9. jmnaylor33

    6 years ago

    the mighty swings of his Hebrew Hammer(tm)

    Well he sure took care of Jake Westbrook whose name can be anagrammed “Ok to Break Jews”.

    Reply

  10. Adam White

    6 years ago

    Dream scenario: Pedroia to short, Lowell to second.

    OK, more realistic: Ortiz should ride the pine in at least one of the Denver games, especially if one of the Rockies’ two lefty starters starts. And I really don’t see why that’s a bad thing, if Youk’s still hot then. Do we really want to rely on Ortiz to field first base?

    One other point: Coco should start in Denver. The outfield is going to be plenty busy, which means Coco’s glove will be a premium. And besides, with that thin air maybe even Coco can get a hit or two.

    Reply

  11. Stephe

    6 years ago

    is there a link to the Millar commercial that aired before game 6?

    Reply

  12. dhumphrey10

    6 years ago

    By the way, I just finished your book and loved every page of it. I sayplay Ellsbury and keep Youks to start. No errors plus good at the plate, and I am worried about Papi’s knees

    Reply

  13. dhumphrey10

    6 years ago

    By the way, I just finished your book and loved every page of it. I sayplay Ellsbury and keep Youks to start. No errors plus good at the plate, and I am worried about Papi’s knees

    Reply

  14. milneedham

    6 years ago

    OK, no shortage of tough calls on this one. Dont you think however this decision needs to be made after game 2 is played? Where is the series at that point 2-0, 1-1, 0-2? Who has the hot hand at that point, or maybe more importantly, who has gone cold (if Youk or Lowell or Papi goes 0-10 in the first two games, the decision sure would be easier — lets just hope it isnt some combination of those guys going 0-20)? How is Papi’s knee at that point? Fly ball or ground ball pitcher?

    All things to consider, however not right now. Its a long flight from Boston to Denver, and I’d guess the answers to these questions will be a lot easier to answer late Thrusday/early Friday, than they are today.

    More pressing questions really are, 10 or 11 pitchers (if 11 stick with Gagne (please no), and who in his place (Tavarez gets my vote; expereinced, played for COL in 2000, on good Cardinals teams that got to the WS), and who throws out the 1st pitch tomorrow night? If I were Executive Producers at Fox Sports, I’d be pushing hard for either Bill Buckner or Doug Mientkiewicz, no shortage of pre-game hype footage on either of those.

    Reply

  15. Hudson

    6 years ago

    How about moving Lowell to short, so that all four can bat?

    Francona will never do it, I know, I know.

    But I suspect the difference between Lowell and Lugo’s bats is bigger than the difference in their performance at short. Don’t forget that Lugo flubbed at least one, maybe two potentially big plays in Game 7.

    Reply

  16. Hudson

    6 years ago

    Note: Whatever the idjuts on the Fan may think, all five of the ESPN analysts picked the Sox (in 5, 6 or 7 games). Effin’ jinxers.

    Reply

  17. blitzburgh

    6 years ago

    Call me crazy, but why not give Youk a shot in RF? Trot and Wily Mo could not have been that much faster(if any) than Youk. We kill two birds w/one stone w/this solution…keep Youk in the line-up and get JD Drew out of the line up. Get Youk shagging some fly balls over the next few days. I know his offensive differential over JDD would far outweigh any defensive liabilities.

    Reply

  18. thecuban78

    6 years ago

    I say what’s the rush? We have two huge ballgames to play in Boston before Francona has to make a decision. If Youk continues on this tear, then Francona has one of the biggest decisions of the season to make. But can you sit Papi? I don’t think you can. Not in October.

    Reply

  19. Sox Fan in CO

    6 years ago

    Given: Lugo HAS to go.
    Question: Who can play short?
    Options: Lowell. Youk at 3rd. Youk? Lowell at 3rd. Hell, I’d put Papi there, lose virtually all fielding range, but have that bat in the lineup.
    I have as little faith as anyone in Drew, but I’d take his bat over Lu-ser any time.

    GO SOX!

    Reply
  20. [...] Way back on Monday, I raised the question of which of the big four bats—Manny, Ortiz, Lowell, and Youk—was going to be on the bench when the Series moved to Denver. In 2004, this wasn’t a problem; as Bob Ryan put it, your Aunt Ethel knew to start Ortiz over Millar and Malphabet. This year, not so easy. Sitting Youk, as Francona has announced he’s doing, is without a doubt the easiest way out; Lowell’s a veteran entering into free agency; Papi has fully earned his reputation as one of the best playoff performers ever; and Manny is, well, Manny. [...]

    Reply

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