BOSTON — Shane Victorino returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup after missing two World Series games with a sore back.
“Glad to have him back in right field,” said Boston Manager John Farrell.
But instead of coming back to his usual No. 2 spot in the order, Victorino was dropped to No. 6.
The move had nothing to do with his back, Farrell said. “It’s just how we feel the lineup matches up the best.”
That Farrell is a genius.
Sure, he talked about liking Dustin Pedroia batting second and David Ortiz third, but there was another result of moving Victorino batting sixth: He came up to bat twice with the bases loaded.
And that’s when he shines.
In the ALCS and the World Series, Victorino was 2-for-34 with 11 strikeouts – when the bases were NOT loaded, including 0-for-11 against the Cardinals.
When the bases were loaded in the ALCS and World Series, Victorino was 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and eight RBI.
After he hit the grand slam against the Tigers to win the ALCS, Farrell said, “he’s come up big a number of times this season, tonight no bigger.”
He may have topped it Wednesday with a three-run double to clinch a World Series at Fenway Park.
Playing at Fenway was one of the draws when Victorino signed as a free agent with Boston. .
“First off, people call this the Cathedral of Baseball, and I absolutely 100 percent agree. This place is a special place to play,” Victorino said.
Victorino signed a three-year, $39-million contract with Boston. He batted .294, while patrolling Fenway’s expansive right field with ease.
“I have been able to play in a place like Philadelphia, (then) L.A. (Dodgers), playing in some big markets. This is right up there with them,” Victorino said. “It’s been great. It’s been fun.”
And it’s been a good deal for Boston.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @ClearTheBases