Andrew Benintendi has been doing it all for the Boston Red Sox so far this postseason, but the young left fielder will find himself cheerleading on the bench when the Sox take the field at Dodger Stadium for Game 3 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
With National League rules in effect, the Red Sox needed to find a place to put hobbled designated hitter J.D. Martinez. Martinez turned his ankle in Game 1 at Fenway Park, but the slugger was deemed OK to play in the field, so Cora elected to place him in left field and sit Benintendi to start Game 3.
“(I’m) keeping Jackie in center with Mookie,” Alex Cora said, via The Eagle Tribune’s Chris Mason. “J.D., he’s OK but we know where he’s at. With the other two defenders in this ballpark it’s good for us. You just look at Benny off the bench against lefties or righties and he can run too and he can play defense.”
Some expected Cora to shift right fielder Mookie Betts to second base, the position he played while coming up through the minor leagues, or to put Betts in center and sit Jackie Bradley Jr., who is less of an offensive threat than Benintendi.
While Benintendi is a more dangerous hitter than Bradley, having the Arkansas product coming off the bench will give Boston a valuable offensive weapon for a key moment later in the game while allowing the Sox to have Bradley’s plus defense roaming the large outfield at Chavez Ravine.
Cora has pulled every proper lever this season, and with the Red Sox two wins away from a title, now probably isn’t the time to start second-guessing him.
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