FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Opening Day is just three days away, yet Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that he is still mulling his Friday lineup against left-hander C.J. Wilson and the Rangers. Wilson has some of the most dramatic left-right splits in the game. Last year, left-handed hitters had just a .144 average, no homers and a .400 OPS against him, while righties hit .236 with 10 longballs and a .679 OPS.
As such, Francona said that were it the middle of the regular season, he likely would be inclined to sit most of his left-handed hitters against Wilson. But, given the prestige associated with Opening Day, he is going back and forth with the decision.
"It’s not just a lefty, but who the lefty is," said Francona. "That’s why I’ve been so hesitant to talk about the lineup because C.J. Wilson is one of those lefties where, on normal days, if it’s July ... that’s the day you’d give your righties a shot. But it’s Opening Day. So there’s some thought, I think, that needs to go into that.
"He is so tough on lefties, it gives me pause to think. How much, I’ve got to see. I’ve actually been trying to wait till we get on the plane and get out of [Fort Myers], just because we’ve got a game in Houston and I’m kind of trying to separate it. It’s not a huge secret. I just kind of want some time to look at the whole series."
Francona also said that he can envision some movement in the lineup once the season gets underway. He described the pairing of Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford in the second and third slots to be "interchangeable," a label he also affixed to Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth and fifth spots.
"We probably have some interchange parts, depending on who’s playing, depending on how guys are swinging the bat," said Francona. "That may just be the way that it is for a while. But you’re not going to wake up and see one guy hitting second, seventh and eighth. We’ll have some consistency."
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