Brock Holt’s omission from Tuesday’s lineup was a noticeable, but not too surprising.
The Boston Red Sox utility man got the start at second base in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday, and he put on a show by hitting for the cycle in a monster 16-1 win over the New York Yankees. But when the Red Sox’s lineup card was released ahead of Game 4, Ian Kinsler was on it, not Holt.
The reason is clear, no matter how hot Holt’s bat has been. The 30-year-old is not as effective against left-handed pitching, and the Yankees are sending veteran southpaw CC Sabathia to the mound as the Red Sox look to eliminate their rivals from the postseason.
Prior to the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora went into a bit more detail on the rationale behind the move.
“It wasn’t that hard, this one,” Cora told reporters, via WEEI.com’s John Tomase. “I know he’s swinging the bat well and I know what he did yesterday, but this is a different game and we feel this is the best lineup that we have to go against him and they understand that.
“For the people outside this room it looks like, ‘This guy’s nuts.’ Like, what’s he doing? But for the people in here. it’s just like, ‘Yeah, there’s a reason we’re doing this and that’s what matters.’ I get it. I understand why people might be asking why he’s not playing Brock or (Rafael Devers), but at the same time, that guy Sabathia, he’s pretty tough on lefties and we have to maximize our lineup.”
It’s worth noting that even Holt indicated following Monday’s game that he didn’t expect to be in the lineup for Game 4.
He still remains an option to pinch hit once the Red Sox get into New York’s bullpen, and that’s been one of many roles he’s thrived in over his career. So though he won’t get the start, that doesn’t mean he’s free of any action in the potential series-clincher.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images