Do the Red Sox Need to Play More Small Ball?

Do the Red Sox Need to Play More Small Ball? "Ted Williams is not walking through that door, fans. Carl Yastrzemski is not walking through that door, and Jim Rice is not walking through that door."

That's Rick Pitino, if he were manager of the 2010 Red Sox.

To translate Pitino, this isn't your homer-happy Red Sox offense.

With no bonified boppers in the starting nine, the Red Sox may need to lean toward the National League's small-ball style of play in 2010. Although the 2010 season is just seven games deep, it's apparent that this lineup isn't going to be slugging the opposition out of the ballpark. The meat of this Sox order is a lethal group, but it doesn't contain the venomous power that manager Terry Francona's teams have had in the past.

Victor Martinez, hitting out of the No. 3 slot, is arguably the team's best hitter, but V-Mart has never cranked more than 25 taters in a season. Kevin Youkilis, the team's clean-up hitter, has plenty of pop in his stick, but Youk is more apt to find a gap, work a count and move a runner over more than clear a fence. David Ortiz, who happens to be sixth all time on the Red Sox home run list, isn't expected to eclipse the 25-dinger plateau — a mark he barely cleared in 2009 with 28 homers. Would it surprise you if Dustin Pedroia, Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre or J.D. Drew smacked more home runs this season than Big Papi, the team's designated hitter?

Perhaps it's time that these 3-4 Red Sox start shortening up a little and playing base-to-base baseball with more bunts, hit and runs, steals, sacrifice flies, etc. The Sox have hit just .241 with runners in scoring position and .231 with runners in scoring position and two outs, meaning they aren't generating runs when need be. They also have just one sacrifice hit to go with five stolen bases.

In spring training, Francona explained in his NESN.com mailbag that he wasn't keen on sacrificing outs to move runners along.

"That’s the beauty of the game of baseball," he wrote back in early March. "Everyone has his opinion on what is best for his favorite team. We do practice bunting every day down here in Fort Myers, but I am not the biggest fan of giving away outs. Early in the game, we really like playing for big innings. We feel like if we can put up a crooked number, it really enhances our chance to win."

Do you agree with Francona's theory of giving away outs or do you think the Red Sox need to play more small ball?

Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox Gameday Live or Red Sox Final.

April 12: How long can Terry Francona keep David Ortiz at designated hitter

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