It's hard to look at this lineup:
|BOSTON RED SOX||LOS ANGELES ANGELS|
|Pedro Ciriaco, 3B||Mike Trout, CF|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Torii Hunter, RF|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||Albert Pujols, 1B|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||Kendrys Morales. DH|
|Cody Ross, RF||Mark Trumbo, LF|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||Howard Kendrick, 2B|
|Daniel Nava, DH||Alberto Callaspo, 3B|
|Mike Aviles, SS||Erick Aybar, SS|
|Scott Podsednik, LF||Chris Iannetta, C|
And not wonder what the hell Bobby Valentine is thinking. Particularly when it comes to having Jacoby Ellsbury of the .250/.302/.351 triple-slash bat third. Especially when he should be batting ninth.
But, upon further reflection, this is actually a pretty good batting order.
Not for winning games, no. It doesn't make that much sense when you're out to win games. But when that's not really the most pressing concern, concessions can be made. Concessions to getting a young player as many at bats as possible, as is the case with Pedro Ciriaco here, or concessions to trying to get a struggling player rolling again, such as Jacoby Ellsbury.
Sure, it's a long-shot to suggest that batting Ellsbury third might make his swing the bat like a middle-of-the-order hitter again, but let's be honest here: what do we have to lose?
Meanwhile, Daniel Nava is back in the lineup, though he'll technically replace David Ortiz tonight rather than Carl Crawford. He too has something to prove given his tailspin leading up to his disabled list stint. Was he just off to a hot start and crashing dramatically (but predictably) to Earth? Or was he in the midst of a breakout campaign when his wrist gave out on him?
We shall see.