Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select the best Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
Most Major League Baseball lineups are built with the intention of beating up on mediocre right-handed pitching. The Red Sox showed on Wednesday night that they are not most major league lineups.
Thanks to Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez, Boston demonstrated that they are capable of a little more flexibility in who they beat up on, taking White Sox lefty Pedro Hernandez to the woodshed in his major league debut. With Ross stepping into the No. 3 hole of the lineup with David Ortiz out, the 31-year-old showed that he might be deserving of more than a cameo appearance.
Bobby Valentine recognized after the game that Ross brings a lot of balance to the Sox lineup, something that the team will need a lot of down the stretch.
With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford currently tearing it up at the top of the Red Sox lineup, Valentine has his work cut out for himself juggling the rest of the roster.
On the one hand, he will want to get his best players as many at-bats as possible. On the other, he has to face the reality that the Red Sox lineup is overflowing with great left-handed batters.
Adrian Gonzalez appears to be returning to his home run-hitting form as of late, and when Ortiz returns from the disabled list, he'll hopefully keep right on with the success he's enjoyed this year. That's four top-tier lefties finding their way into the lineup every night, playing at such a high level it makes platooning any of them sound silly.
So, that talent needs a right-handed anchor in the middle of it all, to keep opposing managers honest in close games and to give the Sox some credibility against tough lefty starters. If Ross can be that guy, it's going to make everybody's life easier.
"No one can replace David Ortiz," Ross admitted after the game, "he's one of the best hitters in the game."
The Red Sox don't need Ross to replace Big Papi right now — they've got Gonzo on a hot streak to lean on for that. What they need Ross to do is just provide some stability in the meat of the order, to make pitchers adjust to a swing built for Fenway Park.
"It didn't seem like pitches were working as well against [Ross] as they were against lefthanders," Bobby V noted. "He made them pay."
And if Cody continues to make opposing pitchers pay, the Sox can make sure his so-called rocking chair is an awfully nice one.