It’s a little lefty heavy for sure, but a revamped Red Sox lineup featuring Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez seems poised to take over the major league lead in runs scored in 2011 after finishing second to the Yankees last season.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Carl Crawford
3. Dustin Pedroia
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Kevin Youkilis
6. David Ortiz
7. J.D. Drew
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Bench: Mike Cameron, Jed Lowrie, Jason Varitek, Darnell McDonald
At least, that’s an early guess. Crawford would be the better leadoff choice, but he much prefers to hit second and given that the Red Sox want him comfortable, they’ll probably leave him there. Against lefties, Scutaro can lead off, with Cameron replacing either Ellsbury or Drew and Varitek filling for Salty.
The clincher now would be if the Red Sox went and signed Scott Downs or Brian Fuentes. As left-handed as the BoSox are going to be, either would be an especially ideal weapon for the Yankees or Rays to have late in games.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.