The Red Sox have all hands on deck as they take on Cole Hamels and the Phillies, and with the last week of spring training rapidly approaching, it's not too far-fetched to think that Farrell is playing the lineup he expects to use come April.
So what does that mean against lefties like Hamels? Let's take a look:
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B
- Jonny Gomes, LF
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
- Daniel Nava, DH
- Jose Iglesias, SS
There are a couple of obvious issues to be had with this as an Opening Day lineup. The first is that Daniel Nava is at DH while Jonny Gomes is in left field, the second that David Ross isn't starting over Jarrod Saltalamacchia against the left-hander (CC Sabathia, conveniently, will be starting Opening Day, making this an easy comparison to make).
It's possible Salty will start on Opening Day as something of a concession to hierarchy. If Farrell is worried about bruising the ego of the young starter, even if he fully expects to use David Ross against most lefties, he may give Salty the nod. If so, it won't be the end of the world. Of course, this being spring, chances are the only real consideration was that Ross started yesterday.
Gomes playing left while Nava acts as the designated hitter is slightly less acceptable in a real-game scenario. Simply put Jonny Gomes should never play the field if he doesn't have to. But, again, this is spring training, meaning this could simply be about reps. If there's anything to be gleaned from this, it's that Farrell is trying to get Nava into lineups--this is his third start in three days.
On the whole, then, this seems more like Farrell just getting his starters as much time as possible in their areas of need. Which is what you want to see as April approaches.