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Red Sox Manager John Farrell Finds Success in Lineup Changes

Last week the Boston Red Sox were in last place in the American League East 9 games behind the first place New York Yankees. This week after four straight wins the Red Sox remain in last place but enter a huge weekend series with the Yankees trailing first place by just 5 ½ games.

Part of the resurgence has been thanks to some bold moves made by John Farrell the manager. Farrell has gone to the idea of what is best for the game at hand – what players will give the team the best chance to score runs and end the game with a win.

Farrell took a great deal of criticism during most of May and June when Boston was playing mediocre baseball, but deserves credit for taking some bold decisions to help the team turn its season around since the start of July.

His moves might save the Boston season and if his players can look beyond their own personal preferences, they might reason it is now or likely never.

Mike Napoli is currently on the outside looking in. He has not played for four straight games but will likely have some role on the club that sports ridiculously low numbers versus lefties.

David Ortiz told reporters this week he does not want a bigger role at first base, a position he has played two of the past three games at Fenway.

Hanley Ramirez is likely to continue being shuttled to and from left field and designated hitter, until everything is worked out in the lineup.

Brock Holt, the only Red Sox player to make the All-Star team, could return to being a utility player, but always playing somewhere. Dustin Pedroia returns this weekend from the disabled list, meaning Holt moves on from second base to another role.

Each of the players previously mentioned will see their names in the lineup only if their manager feels they are the right combination, as he is rightfully acting with some desperation.

Players who disagree will not have that much ammunition to fight with, as Boston has won four straight, 9 of 12 and three straight since Napoli was sat down.

The Red Sox will be facing eight straight right-handers that will take through the All-Star break and the struggling Napoli, who has 2 hits in his last 27 at bats, could be held out of the lineup until the team faces its next left hander.

The three-man rotation at first base could have more to do with the outfield than first base. Farrell wants to play the hustling and energetic Alejandro De Aza as much as he can in left field and following the All-Star break that could pose a problem for Napoli, as that would put Ramirez and Ortiz more often at first and DH and Napoli sitting on the bench.

The big test comes with the “second half” of the season starting after the All-Star Game.

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