Carl Crawford Faces Another Possible Lineup Change As He Continues to Struggle With Red Sox


Apr 16, 2011

Carl Crawford Faces Another Possible Lineup Change As He Continues to Struggle With Red Sox Carl Crawford chopped a ball to second base to start the bottom of the first inning on Friday night at Fenway Park. Just as he has done hundreds of times in his major league career, he used his blazing speed to make it a close play with the pitcher covering.

Replays seemed to indicate that Crawford was safe, but first base umpire Paul Nauert went the other way with a somewhat controversial call. In a year in which the hits are coming about as often as Red Sox wins, Crawford could not believe his misfortune. Then again, maybe he could.

"It's just the way it's going for me right now," he said. "Just got to weather the storm and keep on fighting."

That groundout was part of another 0-for-5 effort for the Boston left fielder, his third in the last six games. It came in a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, and dropped the $142 million man's batting average to .137.

Crawford is just 3-for-28 (.107) with no walks since being moved into the leadoff spot a week ago.

Manager Terry Francona said that Crawford looks "a little bit jumpy" at the plate. He also admitted that there may be a discussion with Crawford to see if moving him to another spot makes sense.

Already down on himself, Crawford is cognizant of the fact that he has to start hitting at some point, no matter where he hits.

"With my luck right now, I'm bad wherever," he said.

The speedster came up to lead off the bottom of the ninth with the Red Sox trailing by a run. He proceeded to strike out on three pitches, an at-bat which took plenty of life out of a park itching for a rally with the top of the lineup.

His teammates have begun to notice, but like Francona, are expressing their support.

"Just relax, it's baseball," said Dustin Pedroia of what Crawford needs to do to break out of the slump. "We've all gone through these stretches. But we need him. We've seen what kind of player he is. Just got to take a deep breath and go play, that's it. Just play through everything. You want your name in the lineup every day when you're struggling to find a way to get out of it."

The homestand, which coincided with Crawford's ascension to the top spot in the lineup, has seen an increasing number of boos rained down upon him. There were plenty more Friday night as the fan frustration began to bubble up.

For his part, Crawford expects to receive some of their venom.

"They have to boo, I'm playing real bad and we're playing real bad as a team," he said. "You definitely understand. You can't be upset about that. You kind of feel their frustration. We're frustrated, too."

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