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Middlebrooks continues to excel from No. 9 spot

Middlebrooks continues to excel from No. 9 spot

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Middlebrooks continues to excel from No. 9 spot

NEW YORK -- If you can navigate through the first eight batters of the Red Sox's lineup, your reward is facing Will Middlebrooks, who might be the hottest hitter on his team.

Middlebrooks is dispelling the notion that the No. 9 spot in the order is an easy out. The third baseman went deep for the third straight night on Friday, helping the Red Sox to a 12-8 win vs. the Yankees.

"I feel good," Middlebrooks said. "My confidence is getting higher and higher. When it's good, it doesn't last. When it's bad, it doesn't last. Stay even-keeled and don't ride that roller coaster. It's a humbling game for sure. You just have to learn not to ride that emotional roller coaster. If you get too high, it'll bite you. If you get too low, it'll bite you."

At the moment, manager John Farrell doesn't feel the need to make a change in the batting order, and that speaks volumes of how well the Red Sox are playing as a team.

"I think the one thing we've tried to do is maintain continuity throughout the course of the year," said Farrell. "That doesn't mean we haven't made some adjustments to the lineup, but there's some guys ahead of him that are swinging the bat pretty well in addition to that. We're not looking to make wholesale changes."

Since his recall from Pawtucket, Middlebrooks is hitting .350 with five homers and 15 RBIs.

"Fundamentally, he has a little bit more of a squared stance in the box, and that's allowed the bat path to give him plate coverage," Farrell said. "But the thing that stands out more than anything is, I think he feels better about himself standing in the box. There's greater confidence."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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