10/19/08 8:30 PM EST
Cora gets Game 7 call at shortstop
Lowrie sits against Rays righty Garza for second time in ALCS
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"We've done this pretty much the whole way through the playoffs," said Francona. "When we get the hard-throwing right-hander, we'll go with AC. This way, it gives us another option, too, because you know at some point they're going to probably want to go to [J.P.] Howell, and it gives us a chance to maybe do something."
Lowrie, a switch-hitter, is far more productive from the right side.
|Sox Game 7 lineup|
|1. Coco Crisp||CF|
|2. Dustin Pedroia||2B|
|3. David Ortiz||DH|
|4. Kevin Youkilis||3B|
|5. J.D. Drew||RF|
|6. Jason Bay||LF|
|7. Mark Kotsay||1B|
|8. Jason Varitek||C|
|9. Alex Cora||SS|
For the third straight game, Coco Crisp was Boston's leadoff hitter. The switch-hitter, who supplanted Jacoby Ellsbury in center field beginning with Game 4, is hitting .500 (8-for-16) in the series.
Though Ellsbury's had good success against Garza in his career (6-for-13), Francona gave no thought to making a switch in center field.
"Not really," Francona said. "I mean, I know what they are. It would be hard to take Coco out right now. He's doing a pretty good job."
Though Ellsbury is in an 0-for-20 drought, Francona hasn't forgotten about the speedy left-handed hitter.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Jacoby has something to say about the outcome of tonight's game," Francona said. "He's a pretty mature young guy. I'm sure he wants to play. I would, too. We're just doing what we think is right."
Jason Varitek, who busted out of an 0-for-14 ALCS drought with a go-ahead home run in the Game 6 victory, moved from ninth to eighth in the batting order. Cora batted ninth.
Francona posted a different lineup for all seven games in this series.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.