Against lefties, I think he's a good fit at 1 or 5 in the order, given his high SLG and OBP (you could make an argument anywhere in the top 5, but 2-4 are set on this team on most days). If Farrell wants to trust Xander at 5, I'm happy with that. I think Farrell is a stinky in-game tactician throughout the regular season, which can be very frustrating, but I like pretty much everything else he brings to the table.
If you look at that lineup, the only plausible alternatives vs. Chen would be Pedroia and Bogaerts. Pedroia prefers not to lead off IIRC, and Farrell probably doesn't want to put that on Xander quite yet.
Anyway batting order is overrated, beyond the general concept of having your best hitters higher up so they get more PAs.
One of the limiting factors here is that Farrell is trying to "protect" X-Bogs, Middlebrooks, and JBJ to varying degrees by batting them down in the order. Once you decide to protect 1/3 of your roster, plus bury the catcher as most teams have to, you run out of options real quick. That's especially true against LHP given the more persistent splits you see with L vs L matchups.
I personally think the protection idea is a little silly--would WMB feel even worse about striking out all the time if he were hitting 6th?--but I understand the thinking. So you just live with some weird lineups on getaway days.
Seems like the big objection to Gomes leading off is that he doesn't fit the prototypical mold (i.e. he's not speedy). But Gomes is arguably one of the best base runners on the team. Certainly one of if not the smartest baserunner. That can make up for being a step slower than the more prototypical lead-off guy.
Obviously the best option statistically (career .400 OBP against LHP) is Pedroia - but he doesn't want to do it. Take Pedroia out of the discussion and Gomes is the best available option.
The interesting question is whether or not you switch to Victorino (.373 OBP and a Gomes equaling .879 career OPS against LHP for his career) once he returns. Probably yes, but I am terrified to think that they might also consider Vic for the job against RHP (career .323 OBP) as well.
Guest, I have a big favor to ask you. We've been working very hard to establish ourselves on social media. If you like/follow our pages it would be a HUGE help to us.
SoSH on Facebook and Inside the Pylon