My last blog was all about one thing: emotions. Not getting too high after a win or too low after a loss. Today, however, after seeing the Red Sox fall to Cleveland for two straight games, at home, mind you, I have to vent a little bit.
The pitching is inconsistent at times, yes. The defense has been laughable at points, of course. The outfield? Let’s not even go there. My biggest problem is that we’re missing something that is essential to a team’s success: a great hitter.
Before you stop reading, (thinking, “wow, he’s an idiot! We have David Ortiz, Mr. October himself along with the Pedroia”) let me get my point across. The Red Sox do not (in MY opinion) have a true number three hole hitter. I’ve always been told that the number three hitter in a team’s lineup is the most consistent and has three universal traits: contact, power, and at least an average speed (this is not always the case, of course. The first two are the big ones).
Currently, we are forcing Dustin Pedroia to hit third. Am I saying this is an atrocity? Absolutely not. I’m saying he should fill another spot in the lineup, preferably batting second. Pedroia is a good hitter. No denying that. He also hits for average for the most part. He even has an average running ability for a guy who is rather small. What does he lack? Power. Pedroia has three homeruns this year. Nothing that inspires fear in opposing pitchers. This is not a knock on Pedroia, it’s a knock on the fact he is hitting in a spot better reserved for someone else.
Who is the someone else, you ask?
Not necessarily. Here’s why:
Age. Ortiz is approaching the dreaded four-oh in age. He’s still a fearsome hitter. He’s still just as clutch as he was in 2004. He still inspires defenses to apply the shift when he steps into the box. However, I like where Ortiz is hitting now: fourth. My biggest argument for this is because IF we could ever get the first three hitters on base, Ortiz could drive them in because he IS clutch. This would also force pitchers to give him more to hit (assuming Napoli is still hitting behind him). If the bases are occupied, the shift is less likely to be executed, giving way to Papi getting more hits to the right side of the field and driving in those runs in the process.
So what should we do?
In my honest opinion, I believe Xander Bogaerts will fill the three spot IN TIME. Not immediately, he is obviously still developing and his power will greatly increase in the future. If the Red Sox aren’t comfortable with that option in the future, they should go outside of the organization to acquire another all-star caliber hitter, even if for a short term. My suggestions:
Matt Holiday (Cardinals, outfielder)
Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, outfielder) [if he is fully healthy]
Matt Kemp (Dodgers, outfielder) [Also another case of if he’s fully healthy]
And the longshot, Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins, outfielder) [I probably have a better shot at becoming an astronaut than this does of happening]
Agree with me? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts and why. As always, thanks for reading.