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4/3 Rangers Lineup Is Interesting

  1. DH Ian Kinsler
  2. 2B Michael Young
  3. CF Josh Hamilton
  4. 3B Adrian Beltre
  5. RF Nelson Cruz
  6. LF David Murphy
  7. C Mike Napoli
  8. 1B Mitch Moreland
  9. SS Andres Blanco

That is today's lineup for the Rangers against the Red Sox. Fans of defense, close your eyes.

Texas clearly wants to get everyone playing time in the first series, and I actually don't have a problem with that. I'm not a fan of this lineup, but at least it's one game. I'd rather it not be against a strong team like Boston, but the way the Rangers have smacked them around the last two days, it might not even matter.

I like getting Kinsler some time at DH to keep him fresh, but that unfortunately comes via placing Michael Young at 2B for the first time since 2003. A long with sitting Elvis Andrus to get Blanco some time, the Rangers are taking a serious hit at defense up the middle. I hope that is just a first series thing, and not something common. When Andrus needs to sit, they need to have Kinsler in (when he's healthy) instead of damaging both shortstop and second base at once.

They also take a hit defensively in the outfield, but Murphy's offense more than makes up for that hit. And if there were any lingering questions that the Rangers felt they would be okay putting Napoli's glove behind the plate, they have put those to rest by waiting just three days to make him the catcher.

With the exception of Blanco, this is probably the best hitting lineup the Rangers can muster, but it comes with a likely defensive downgrade in more than half the positions on the field. The stat line for Matt Harrison today could look unnaturally bad.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.