Watching Carl Crawford Perform Every Night Should Be Real Treat for Red Sox Nation

by abournenesn

Feb 8, 2011

Watching Carl Crawford Perform Every Night Should Be Real Treat for Red Sox Nation It may be cold and snowy out, but the countdown for pitchers and catchers to report to Red Sox spring training has reached single digits.

With some players already in Florida early, it's the right time to start thinking about what's in store this spring, summer and — hopefully — fall.

There has been much talk about the Red Sox' lineup and how it will look. How do you think it will look?
–Bryan, Hudson, Mass.

I have seen many of the combinations you have and I think no matter how it shakes down, it will be impressive and stretched out like we have not seen in some time. I subscribe to the group in favor of Carl Crawford hitting fifth. I think he would rather not lead off, and he gives the Red Sox his element of speed in the second inning many nights. I also think that there is value in leaving Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in their familiar spots as well. So my lineup, if all are healthy, taking into account the lefties you will have in there on most days, is as follows:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Adrian Gonzalez
4. Kevin Youkilis
5. Carl Crawford
6. David Ortiz
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Jason Varitek
8. J.D. Drew
9. Marco Scutaro/Jed Lowrie

The only reason I think Drew may hit lower is to break up the lefties. We will see soon!

Everyone is excited for the season. What are you most looking forward to?
–Kim, Piscataway, N.J.

I would have to say watching Carl Crawford play every day and do to in a Red Sox uniform. I think there are a handful of players in the majors who you really enjoy watching play from the other side in a series, and Carl Crawford has always been one of those guys. I would put Ichiro Suzuki in that category as well.

My friend and former Red Sox player Brian Daubach once said to me, "We are not athletes, we are baseball players." For the most part, that's true (although not as much today as it was years ago). That's not the case with Carl Crawford. This guy might be the most athletic baseball player there is. He was a great athlete first, and we watched him become a baseball player over the years and saw him mature right in front of our eyes, year after year, in the season series with the Rays. If nothing else, it will be great to not have to watch him steal six bases again against the Sox.

Where does Tim Wakefield fit on the staff?
–Stan, Bridgeport, Conn.

This is a question better answered at the end of spring training. I say that because it always seems one starter at the end of spring is set back or not quite ready to start the season. If and when that happens, Wakefield is ready to slide into that spot. Should it happen during the regular season, we have seen time in and time out that he can adjust and slide into that spot start whenever called upon. I really think his help in the bullpen should not be underestimated if that's where he ends up most this year. Most managers I know like having guys who can pitch effectively for multiple innings and it seems there are fewer of those type guys today in the pen. Wakefield no doubt is one of those guys.

What team could surprise people in 2011?
–Matt, Newton, Mass.

OK, I am not good at this, as it turns out. I have had this asked every year and have been wrong most. That said, I expect the Baltimore Orioles to really make some noise this year. Yes, they have had the misfortune of playing in the AL East, but I think they will be much more competitive and make the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees really have to work in the season series. A few years ago, the Sox were 16-2 vs. the Orioles. I am fairly certain that will not happen again this year. I think Buck Showalter instantly changed the atmosphere in Baltimore upon his arrival. Dave Trembley could not get that fire lit there, nor could interim manager Juan Samuel. Last year, they expected their young players to really step up, and it did not happen until Showalter arrived. Now they have added to the depth of the team and those young players may be ready make some noise

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