The Boston Red Sox batted Dustin Pedroia at the top of the order during Sunday's Grapefruit League against the Minnesota Twins. Jacoby Ellsbury has had the No. 1 spot staked out for a few seasons now, but batted second during the 8-3 win. Manager Bobby Valentine was surprised when asked why he flipped the two players in the lineup, then he explained his decision-making process:
"I'll consider feelings, of course, and then consider everything else and figure out how to maximize the lineup," Valentine said. "It's all about competition. The end result is about maximizing production so that deals with not only personalties of people but the competition, how we match up. The great terminology today is match-up. Regretfully, because statistics are what they are, we talk about individual match-ups. There are also team match-ups. There are the way groupings matchup against the competition."
Valentine also went in-depth as to why, specfically, he decided to put the left-handed Ellsbury in the No. 2 slot.
I would think if you polled 100 guys who talk about that and they wanted a guy to lead off an inning and have the second hitter batting, most of them would want a left-hander batting if the first guy got on," Valentine said. "If he hits a doulbe, it's a lot easier to advance him to third. If he hits a single, it's a lot easier to advance him to third. If he hits a single, it's a lot easier to advance him to third if he hits with a hole over there. With a strength swing, rather than his less-than-strength swing."