FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine said prior to the Red Sox' Grapefruit League opener, against the Twins at JetBlue Park, that he wouldn't hesitate hitting Dustin Pedroia first in the lineup, with Jacoby Ellsbury batting second, which is where the players were slotted for Sunday's game.
Valentine was initially surprised at the question regarding why the two players were flip-flopped from the lineup spots they had managed the past few years, but then explained, "It's just that its' a new year."
"Depending on who else is around there, yeah," said Valentine when asked about if he would hit Pedroia in the leadoff spot during the regular season. "Just about those two, that two situation is an interesting thing, just the right-left, as opposed to Pedroia and Ellsbury or Ellsbury and Pedroia. I would think if you polled 100 guys who talk about that and they wanted a guy to lead off an inning and have the second hitter batting, most of them would want a left-hander batting if the first guy got on. If he hits a doulbe, it's a lot easier to advance him to third. If he hits a single, it's a lot easier to advance him to third. If he hits a single, it's a lot easier to advance him to third if he hits with a hole over there. With a strength swing, rather than his less-than-strength swing."
Pedroia has hit in the leadoff spot 79 times, totaling a .253 batting average and .693 OPS in the spot. Ellsbury has hit second only eight times (hitting .304), having manned the lineup's top spot in 405 of his career 507 major league games.
Valentine he has yet to "get a good feel" for the Red Sox lineup yet, but did go on to explain that he will prioritize match-ups rather than simply placating players who say they feel comfortable in a certain spot.
“I’ll consider feelings, of course, and then consider everything else and figure out how to maximize the lineup," he said. "It’s all about competition. The end result is about maximizing production so that deals with not only personalties of people but the competition, how we match up. The great terminology today is match-up. Regretfully, because statistics are what they are, we talk about individual match-ups. There are also team match-ups. There are the way groupings matchup against the competition."
When asked if his philosophy regarding putting together lineups have changed over the years, Valentine admitted he has changed his philosophy as new information has become available.
“I think it’s evolved, yeah," he said. "Just a combination of things. One, I started getting more information where I would realize some lineups probably worked better against some pitchers, some lineups probably worked better against different bullpens, some lineups cannot be together all year. The last thing you ever want a pitcher to think when he goes out on the mound is that he’s pitching with something less than the best lineup behind him. That’s all part of team-building. Knowing that the lineup is going to change 100 times in a season, if the only time a team thinks it’s going to win is when their lineup is out on the field, then there’s going to be a lot of games they take the field and think they don’t have to win. It creates a bad mentality, to think you have one lineup and that lineup is the one that wins. It’s a Little League mentality that should not exist at the highest level of baseball. To say nothing of the fact that guys often need to play to be contributors and to feel part of a team.
"If you start a season, and I've had preseason talks with every person in that room, including the guys who say, ‘I want to play 162 games’ and including the guy who says, ‘I’d just like to know what my role is.’ A guy says, ‘Hey, I want to know what my role is,’ he’s saying, ‘I want to have a role.’ Part of that role is starting sometimes. I just don’t think it’s part and parcel to the major league. It’s a wonderful talk show conversation about the lineup, and then you go through the St. Louis Cardinals, the world championship run to the World Series, and you see in the playoffs and World Series, they might have used the same lineup twice. What are we talking about?"
For more on the Red Sox lineup, and other news from Fort Myers, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.
Pete, Bradford, and Tomase are talking all about the Boston Red Sox, who opened spring training on Monday with pitchers and catchers reporting. They talk about what the Red Sox approach at the plate will be to replace the loss of David Ortiz bat, the impact of some players participating in the WBC, and of course the pitching rotation.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.
The Dallas Mavericks traded for Nerlens Noel, and dumped Andrew Bogut in the process, leading the guys to wonder why the Celts weren't pursuing 6'11" power forward/center.
Chris Mannix, Yahoo! Sports joined the show to give the latest on the NBA trade deadline.
The guys acknowledge that the Green-teamers will defend Danny whether he makes a move or not.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the C's lack of moves at the NBA trade deadline and try and figure out why, and what is the next best opportunity for the Celts to make a move?
Dale, Michael and Keefe discuss the comments made by Dave Dombrowski on K&C this morning concerning John Farrell and his in-game management.
We close out the show with the best sound bites of the day.
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap Wednesday and Thursday's K&C shows on location in Ft. Myers
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.
Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey talk best and worst movie/TV presidents. Plus the always important "This Week in #DORK" and the Pick of the Podcast.
Hour 4. Evan Drellich joins the show. A fight for the ages ensues.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.More from this show
Hour 1. Evan Drellich attacked Kirk and Gerry for their interview with John Farrell. Kirk had an accident.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.More from this show
Hour 2. John Steigerwald says Brady doesn't pass the eye test. Headlines with Kirk.More from this show