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Victorino's consistency keeps him atop lineup

Victorino's consistency keeps him atop lineup

BOSTON -- Prior to the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell's plan was to have Shane Victorino bat second against lefties, with Daniel Nava slotting in against righties. It made sense, given Victorino has traditionally been better from the right side, while Nava has always been the opposite.

However, the quality of Victorino's at-bats from the left side of the plate, combined with Nava's production on both sides, has made Farrell rethink things.

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Of late, Victorino has been batting second against righties and lefties, with Nava batting sixth regardless.

"I think once we started the season, [Victorino's] at-bats from the left side of the plate have been consistent -- they've been fairly equal to the right side," said Farrell. "What Daniel has done with providing protection behind Will [Middlebrooks] and really in the short run -- he's been almost a middle-of-the-order type of bat -- whether it's getting an inning started with a walk or an extra-base hit, it gives us the ability to lengthen out the lineup a little bit and protection in that middle of the order."

Victorino entered Thursday's finale against the Orioles with better numbers from the left side (.368 average, .381 on-base percentage) than the right (.231, .333).

As for Nava, he entered this season with seven homers in 428 at-bats. This season, he has three homers in 15 at-bats.

"I think more than anything, he continues to mature as a hitter," Farrell said. "He's picking out pitches that he's capable of driving with more frequency, and time will tell what that production will look like over a longer span. You can't deny the work that the guy puts in, whether it's on defense or at the plate. He's doing a heck of a job."

Ian Browne and Jason Mastrodonato are reporters for MLB.com. Read Browne's blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Follow Mastrodonato on Twitter @jmastrodonato This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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