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Sports

October 17, 2013

Time for Farrell to make a change

It’s time for Red Sox manager John Farrell to take a page out of his buddy Terry Francona’s book, and I don’t mean from “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” Tito’s book with Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.

Take a page from Francona’s figurative book on how to make tough personnel decisions to win playoff games.

Hey, Farrell: Start your talented rookie just like Francona did for Game 6 of the 2007 American League Championship Series when he replaced a struggling Coco Crisp with hot, blue-chip prospect, Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Boston Red Sox lost 7-3 to the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the ALCS last night at Comerica Park. The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

There’s no doubt about it. It’s time for rookie shortstop/third baseman Xander Bogaerts to start in place of Stephen Drew at shortstop or Will Middlebrooks at third today. Right now, both Drew and Middlebrooks are dreadful to watch at the plate and one of them must sit out Game 5.

Take your pick. Drew is 3 for 28 (.107 average, .138 on-base percentage) with eight strikeouts this postseason. Middlebrooks is 4 for 23 (.174 average, .269 OBP) with nine strikeouts.

Yes, most Red Sox hitters are struggling this series, but Drew and Middlebrooks look the most lost.

Enough is enough, Farrell, with your unlimited loyalty to veterans, particularly your shortstop.

And why should Middlebrooks — who has a .294 on-base percentage in his two major league seasons — be owed a starting spot at third every game this postseason? It doesn’t make sense.

In 2007, Crisp was 5 for 31 (.161 average) between the ALDS and the first five games of the ALCS. Francona gave the job to Ellsbury, who went 9 for 24 (.375 average), scored seven runs, four doubles and four RBIs during the final two games of the ALCS and Boston’s World Series sweep of Colorado.

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