OK, Red Sox Nation. I want all of us to collectively slap Terry Francona across the face for not batting Mike Lowell in the 5-hole since the day we knew JD Drew was going to struggle.
Felt good, didn't it?
Here's a stat: .434. That's Lowell's batting average in 62 plate appearances while batting 5th this season. Want another tidbit? That's not counting his 4 for 6 day at the plate today. His OPS is 1.271 without today's contest factored in.
Lowell has been the most consistent Red Sox hitter all season. Don't look at David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez this season. Dustin Pedroia may match Lowell, but we all remember his April "adjustment" period.
Check out Lowell's month-by-month splits:
Month PA HR RBI BA April 97 4 20 .314 May 110 6 21 .343 June 96 2 14 .227 July 109 3 18 .330 August 104 2 19 .400
June was the only month where Lowell struggled, but he bounced right back in July and is still chuggin' along in August.
Can he keep up this pace? Probably not. Not many players can keep up this type of pace. But is he a better option than anyone else on this team to hit in the 5-hole? Absolutely. Unless Lowell gets injured or finds himself swinging like Julio Lugo, he should be batting in the 5-spot from now until the end of October. No doubt about it in my mind.
With Lowell hitting in the 5-spot this season, the Red Sox are 11-4, with three of those wins coming over the weekend against the dilapidated White Sox (can anyone believe that this team actually won a World Series recently? They just look absolutely horrible). He has 6 RBI in his last three games. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you also consider the fact he's hitting singles and doubles in clutch situations, it makes it that much better.
Here's the lineup the Sox should run with from here on until the end of October:
I think Pedroia is good enough to bat leadoff for this team. Kevin Youkilis, I think, has to hit second. He doesn't seem comfortable anywhere else. If we want his bat to be effective, I think we need him to be right in the two-hole. Drew and Jason Varitek may be interchangeable, but I like the speed of Coco Crisp and Lugo at the bottom. Lugo is batting .333 in the 9 spot this season.
I strongly believe that if the Sox run with this lineup then not only will their pitching staff be lethal, but their lineup is going to clean up from top to bottom.