So, surprised? No? Neither am I. Neither is anyone, I imagine.
Kevin Youkilis will round out the heart of the order, backing up Adrian Gonzalez' MVP-level bat with his own. While he is a righty, Youkilis hasn't historically had troubles with righties. It's just that he doesn't absolutely destroy them like he does southpaws--nobody is going to want to face Youkilis, period.
This means that nobody is going to just be able to give Adrian Gonzalez a free pass, or take the cautious approach to him that messed with him in 2009 (though he did eventually seem to figure it out). Remember the whole Manny-protecting-Papi thing? Well forget about it. Now we have Youk protecting Gonzalez protecting Crawford. And I'm pretty sure Papi is still around too.
So is he #6? Probably, yeah, but let's go ahead and vote on it anyways.
To repeat, some clarifications:
- I'll include both Scoot and Lowrie. After one has been chosen, the other will stop being an option. Ditto for Varitek and Salty.
- Darnell McDonald will also be included, while Ryan Kalish will not. Consider that my guess at the 25-man.
- Put it together the way you want it, not the way you think it will be.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, L
2. Dustin Pedroia, R
3. Carl Crawford, L
4. Adrian Gonzalez, L
5. Kevin Youkilis, R
My Pick: David Ortiz
If we were to have complete faith in David Ortiz' ability to repeat his 2010 performance, David Ortiz should be hitting third against righties. Only four players in the whole league did it better, and two of them won the MVP awards (another was Mr. BABIP himself, Justin Morneau). At .297/.416/.643, Ortiz was finally inspiring the old fear again.
Of course, I'm not completely trusting. Ortiz isn't the same guy he used to be, and while a lot of that is a matter of his effectiveness against lefties, it's still not enough for me to say that Ortiz should be batting third or fourth over Gonzalez or Youkilis, both great players in their prime.
But hey just imagine some righty being given the ball at the beginning of the game and hearing that these are the first five batters he'll have to face:
1. Carl Crawford, L
2. Dustin Pedroia, R
3. Adrian Gonzalez, L
4. Kevin Youkilis, R
5. David Ortiz, L
Kind of makes you want to just feign a cramp or something and go back to sleep until the series is over.