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The Look of the Lineup

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The only real controversy in Red Sox camp this year has been what the lineup will look like in the this season. That was quickly put to rest as Terry Francona recently decided to bat Edgar Renteria second in the lineup, Manny Ramirez third, and David Ortiz as the cleanup hitter.

I don't see any problems with Ramirez third and Ortiz fourth, except for the fact that they both hit better in the opposite spots last year:

Ortiz will get more RBI chances than Ramirez in the four-hole, and, odds are, be stranded on base more often than Ramirez. The difference in numbers between this year and last should be minimal, as you could flip-flop both of them and really not see a difference overall.

Making Renteria the man in the two-hole is a questionable move. Renteria had a extremely low .327 on-base percentage last season. A .327 OBP in the two-spot is something that you don't want. You want somebody that will work walks and get on first consistently. If Renteria can't do that, then he shouldn't be there. But if he can recreate his 2003 numbers, when he had a .394 OBP, then he'll be the ideal hitter before Ramirez.

With Renteria second, Mark Bellhorn is expected to hit ninth in the lineup behind Bill Mueller. Bellhorn, who had 398 at-bats in the two-spot last season, will be a pretty good guy to have at the end of the order. He has some pop and can get on base, so that will allow Johnny Damon and Company more chances to produce.

Any way you look at it, the Sox are in a great position this year. Whether it's Bellhorn or Renteria in the two-hole, Ramirez or Ortiz third in the lineup, we are solid one through nine.