CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }

Sox shuffle lineup vs. Kazmir in Game 2

Sox shuffle lineup in Game 2

ST. PETERSBURG -- As the Red Sox got ready to face the nasty offerings of Rays lefty Scott Kazmir for Saturday's Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, manager Terry Francona made some adjustments to his lineup.

Though Coco Crisp was the only starter who didn't play in the 2-0 victory in Game 1, several spots were shifted.

complete postseason coverage

With No. 5 hitter J.D. Drew getting the night off, Crisp was slotted in center field and ninth in the lineup while leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury was moved from center to right. Crisp is a career .300 hitter (9-for-30) against Kazmir.

Francona said that Drew's absence from the lineup had nothing to do with the 95-mph heater from Grant Balfour that the right fielder took off the shoulder in the top of the eighth inning of Game 1.

"I bet you he's sore," Francona said. "You hate to ever make light of it when somebody gets hit but after -- the way it looked -- it was such a relief that it just hit him in the shoulder because it looked, from where I was sitting, that it hit him in the face."

But even before that, Francona had already planned on slotting in Crisp for Game 2.

"I really wanted Coco to play," Francona said. "I didn't want to take Ellsbury out of the leadoff spot. We can have J.D. sitting over there, kind of knowing that they're going to use Balfour at one of the most pivotal points of the game and maybe having J.D. sitting over there making him think twice. Maybe it won't. I just think that this guy [Kazmir] is so tough, he's actually tough on the league, but he's really tough on lefties. We had to play a lefty probably more than we'd like, but I didn't want Ellsbury out of the leadoff spot."

Left fielder Jason Bay was put in Drew's No. 5 hole, up a spot from Game 1. Jed Lowrie moved up two spots to sixth. The rookie switch-hitter has been far more effective against lefties (.338, 22 RBIs in 80 at-bats) than righties (.222, 24 RBIs in 180 at-bats).

Jason Varitek also moved up two spots, from ninth to seventh, for the same reason as Lowrie. The switch-hitter hit .284 against lefties this season and .201 against righties.

Left-handed-hitting Mark Kotsay, who again got the start at first base, moved from seventh to eighth.

Francona said he did give some thought to playing Alex Cora at shortstop, moving Lowrie to third and putting Youkilis back to his primary position of first base.

"A little bit, and there's a chance that AC might play Monday," Francona said. "I guess we ended up just moving Kotsay down a little bit and leaving him in there. We did think about it. Thought a lot about it."

If Cora starts Game 3, it could be a straight-up swap for Lowrie, instead of for Kotsay.

Red Sox Game 2 lineup:

Ellsbury -- CF
Pedroia -- 2B
Ortiz -- DH
Youkilis -- 3B
Bay -- LF
Lowrie -- SS
Varitek -- C
Kotsay -- 1B
Crisp -- CF
Beckett -- SP

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }