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Grant on Ortiz and Youkilis

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Evan Grant offers his thoughts on what the BoSox should do with their first base situation, given that the lack of a DH means either David Ortiz sits, or Ortiz plays first base and either Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis sits.

Grant advocates playing Youkilis tonight at first base, then having Ortiz go in game 4.

Personally, I'd probably go with Ortiz at first base in game 3 and game 4, and then Youkilis at first base in game 5 (with Lowell playing third base all three games).

I don't think you want to have two guys playing out of position, which is what you'd have with Lowell sitting (Youkilis has played only 29 games at third base the past two years). Youkilis is a better defensive player than Ortiz at first base, no question, but Ortiz kills righthanded pitching, which makes the defensive trade-off worthwhile against Josh Fogg and Aaron Cook.

But with lefty Jeff Francis going in game 5, I'd sit Ortiz. Youkilis has almost no platoon split, but with Ortiz posting just an 852 OPS against lefties this year, and a historical platoon split of almost 150 points, I think the offensive edge Ortiz would offer is counter-balanced by the defense you get from Youkilis.

Plus, if it is a close game, having David Ortiz on the bench puts Clint Hurdle in a tough spot. He's got a couple of solid lefties in the pen with Brian Fuentes and Jeremy Affeldt, but the knowledge that Ortiz is available to come up in a key situation is going to make him more careful in his use of his relievers. Plus, he's not likely to lift closer Manny Corpas for Fuentes or Affeldt, which would make Ortiz a great 9th inning weapon.