Tampa Bay Rays

Francona shakes up Sox' lineup prior to Game 4

BOSTON – In an effort to shake his offense out of a funk, Red Sox manager Terry Francona benched the struggling Jacoby Ellsbury for tonight’s Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Rays at Fenway Park.

J.D. Drew has been moved to the leadoff spot. Coco Crisp will replace Ellsbury in center field.

Ellsbury is 0-for-14 through the first three games.

Drew hasn’t fared much better with only two hits in eight at-bats.

Crisp is 3-for-6 with a couple of doubles.

Francona addressed Ellsbury’s slump before Game 3, saying, “As long as I think we’re a better team with him hitting first, I’ll do it. He had a tough game (Saturday). So did a couple of other guys. But I don’t know that because a guy has a tough game or two you necessarily change the batting order. If there’s a place and a time when I think we’re better team doing something else, I would do it.”

Francona, apparently, has decided the Sox are not a better team with Ellsbury giving them nothing at the top of the order.

Ellsbury was 0-for-6 in the Rays' 11-inning victory Saturday. He was hitless in four plate appearances Monday but drove in the Red Sox lone run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Ellsbury was one of the darlings of the Red Sox run to the World Series title last October, hitting .360 overall and .438 in the World Series.