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The OF shuffle used by the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 3, 2010 12:10 PM

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To get some sense of what Terry Francona has had to deal with this season, the Red Sox have used 41 different outfield combinations through 134 games.

The Sox had Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and J.D. Drew for the first four games of the season. That group never played together again.

In the 131 games since, Francona has not used any group of three outfielders in the same positions for more than three games in a row.

His most popular combinations this season (left field, center field, right field):

Bill Hall, Darnell McDonald, J.D. Drew: 18 times
Jeremy Hermida, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew: 9 times
Jeremy Hermida, Darnell McDonald, J.D. Drew: 9 times
Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, J.D. Drew: 8 times
Daniel Nava. Ryan Kalish, J.D. Drew: 7 times
Ryan Kalish, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew: 7 times
Daniel Nava, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew: 7 times

On 17 occasions this so far this season 13 percent of the games Francona used an outfield combination for the only time all year.

In terms of games started, here is the breakdown:

LEFT FIELD
Hermida 41
Nava 33
Hall 29
Kalish 11
McDonald 10
Patterson 5
Ellsbury 5

CENTER FIELD
McDonald 44
Cameron 43
Ellsbury 13
Kalish 11
Patterson 7
Hall 6
Van Every 5
Reddick 5

RIGHT FIELD
Drew 110
McDonald 13
Hall 4
Reddick 3
Hermida 2
Van Every 1
Kalish 1

OVERALL OF STARTS
Drew 110
McDonald 67
Cameron 43
Hermida 43
Hall 39
Nava 33
Kalish 23
Ellsbury 18
Patterson 12
Reddick 8
Van Every 6

The Yankees have had 10 players start games in the outfield this season. But Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson have played together 65 times.

The Rays have had a rotating coast of right fielders. But Carl Crawford had started 117 games in left and B.J. Upton 120 in center.

Given that outfielders are usually counted on to produce a lot of runs, it's a miracle the Sox have scored the second-most runs in baseball and are just a few percentage points behind the Yankees for team OPS.

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