Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/13/13
Carl Crawford couldn’t handle bouncing around the Red Sox’ order at the beginning of his stint in Boston. Shane Victorino had no such issues, and it’s now become clear exactly where he belongs. Victorino bounced back-and-forth between the No. 2 spot and No. 7 spot in Boston’s lineup during the team’s first four games. He’s now firmly implanted in the two-hole, and it’s in large part because of the havoc that him and Jacoby Ellsbury can wreak on opposing pitchers at the top of the order. Victorino went 2-for-5 on Saturday to up his average to .341. He also recorded his third stolen base of the season, and, of course, drove in the game-winning run in extra innings. Ellsbury, meanwhile, is still settling in at the plate, but he’s already off to a fast start on the bases, notching his fifth theft of the year in Boston’s 2-1 win. The 10th inning really gave a glimpse as to what the Red Sox could have in the tandem of Ellsbury and Victorino at the top of the lineup. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia –- who pinch-hit for David Ross –- struck out to begin the inning, Ellsbury singled up the middle. From there, the Sox had options. “Well, after [Ellsbury] gets the base hit, I felt like we had a real good opportunity to steal a base,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Saturday’s game. “Not just because of Jake’s basestealing ability, but because the combination there was something we might be able to take advantage of.” Ellsbury did take off for second, and Rays catcher Jose Lobaton’s throw ricocheted off shortstop Yunel Escobar’s glove and into right field, allowing Ellsbury to advance to third. Rays manager Joe Maddon opted at that point to stack the infield with an extra infielder –- thus leaving just two outfielders. Victorino responded by hitting a sharp ground ball to the right side of second base. Escobar made a diving play, but Ellsbury was off on contact, and he scored easily to give the Red Sox the win. “That’s the type of game we want to play,” Farrell said. “We want to force the defense to put pressure on them, and when you’ve got a guy with that kind of speed down there, any kind of ball that’s not directly at someone, that’s a pretty difficult play for an infielder to change directions — not only field the ball cleanly, but throw a strike anywhere from 90 to 100 feet away from home plate. A contact play is something we use consistently.” One could certainly chalk up the Red Sox’ aggressiveness on the base paths as “relentless,” which is the key word that Farrell mentioned upon being introduced as Red Sox manager. Being “relentless” is a lot easier when you have Ellsbury and Victorino at the top of the order, though. Both players have great speed and handle the bat well, which is a potent combination to have setting the table for the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks. Even when the middle of the order isn’t hitting particularly well, Ellsbury and Victorino -– given their speed –- can make an impact by manufacturing a run. There’s no reason to believe the 1-2 combination of Ellsbury and Victorino can’t became even more dangerous going forward, as the duo fits right in with the aggressive approach Farrell is trying to instill offensively. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle  or send it here. 

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: ‘Multiple’ teams open to giving Noel max contract

Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charges

Report: Clippers ‘overwhelming favorite’ to keep Chris Paul

Giants owner: Signing Kaepernick would anger fans

Mike Trout to undergo MRI after suffering thumb injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall: Bench was cause of Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Arum says Pacquiao would fight McGregor if Mayweather won't

Aaron Judge hits first grand slam of his career

David Stern: Lakers could have had Chris Paul, GM panicked

Brandon Jacobs vows to 'expose' Jim Harbaugh, get him fired

Mike Zimmer won’t retire even if right eye goes blind

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker