Sitting dead last in the A.L. East Standings at 2-9, the Boston Red Sox and manager Terry Francona are looking for answers to end the team's unexpected drought to begin the season.
One change they could make is to start young shortstop Jed Lowrie over the likes of veteran Marco Scutaro.
Amidst last night's 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Lowrie was one of the bright spots in the offense as he went 2-for-4 including an RBI double hitting in the number five spot in the lineup. Lowrie played in place of Kevin Youkilis at third base, who was in the DH slot last night.
Since being injured the first half of 2010, Lowrie has returned strong as he hit .287 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in 55 games last season. Lowrie appears to have picked up where he left off as he is currently hitting .436 with a team-best .500 OBP and .563 slugging percentage, if in a small sample size.
Lowrie has been very effective for the Red Sox thus far, and has even gotten Terry Francona thinking about giving him more playing time this season:
"He’s really swinging it," Francona said. "He’s having some pretty professional at-bats. That’s what we saw at the end of last year. ... When he’s swinging like this -- and we think he’s a good player -- but when he’s swinging like this, you probably look for ways to get him in there."
While Lowrie has been viewed by Francona and GM Theo Epstein as a "super-utility player" the most logical place for Lowrie to get more at-bats is shortstop, in favor of the struggling Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro has always been in the good graces of Francona, but his dismal .172 average and .480 OPS could change his mind very quickly. While there have only been 11 games played thus far, Scoot just hasn't looked very comfortable at the plate.
Even if Francona needs a super-utility guy, he's got one in Scutaro. Over his career, Scoot played games at shortstop, third base, second base, even first base. Before his breakout year in Toronto in 2009, Scutaro WAS a utility player
While it's still hard for me to believe that Francona would just bench Scutaro after all of the times he defended him, he is one of the weak links in the Red Sox lineup right now.
Common sense tells you that at this point in time: Jed Lowrie is the better player, and he should be the regular shortstop.