DENVER _ Kevin Youkilis will be the odd man out of the Boston Red Sox’ lineup when the World Series resumes Saturday night with Game 3 at Coors Field.
The Red Sox are forced to bench one of their best hitters with National League rules in effect in an NL park, eliminating the designated hitter. Thus, Youkilis will be on the bench while designated hitter Dave Ortiz will play first base as the Red Sox attempt to build on their 2-0 lead over the Colorado Rockies.
Ortiz has only played seven games at first base this season, all in interleague road games, as well as starting there in the All-Star Game at San Francisco on July 10, his last appearance in the field.
Manager Terry Francona’s other option was to play Ortiz at first base, move Youkilis to third base and bench third baseman Mike Lowell.
“They won’t let us play all three of them, so we’ll go with this,” Francona said as both teams worked out at Coors Field on Friday. “The hope would be we’ll have a lead, we’ll put Youk in late. It doesn’t always work perfect but we’ll do the best we can. It’s a difficult situation but I’m not going to do any second-guessing. I’d rather have all three.”
Youkilis is having a fabulous postseason with a .396/.483/.638 line in 48 plate appearances. However, Youkilis’ EqA in the regular season was the lowest of three at .283 while Ortiz’s was .338 and Lowell finished at .288.
The Red Sox lose their No. 2 hitter in the batting order in Youkilis. Francona said he is leaning toward moving rookie center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the bottom of the order to leadoff for Game 3 and sliding rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia from leadoff to Youkilis’ second spot.
Francona would not commit to a lineup beyond Game 3.
“It’s not like we haven’t thought about it but we talk so much about preparing for a game and staying in that moment that for me to start veering away doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Francona said. “We’ll take stock of where we are and then the next day we’ll put out a lineup that we think works.”