When the Boston Red Sox brought in Kyle Schwarber to teach him to play first base, Bobby Dalbec must have seen some writing on the wall.
But fast forward to late September and Dalbec’s had a complete resurgence, forcing the team to make decisions every day about who will play first base, left field or be designated hitter.
“He’s done an amazing job and it’s not that he is putting himself in the conversation — he is the conversation,” manager Alex Cora said before Boston’s game against the New York Mets on Wednesday, in which Dalbec will not start.
“So, it’s not easy to stay away from him but knowing where we’re at and the guys that we have, it’s a pretty good lineup that we’re throwing out there tonight,” Cora added. “So we feel comfortable and he’ll be ready if we need him late in game.”
After a pretty abysmal start to the season, Dalbec in his last 21 games (84 plate appearances) has 16 extra-base hits, 24 RBI, 21 strikeouts, 10 walks and is slashing .329/.417/.808.
Schwarber, meanwhile, has added value to the offense in his ability to work walks. The trade deadline acquisition has played first, left field and served as the DH, depending on availability and matchups.
“We got some good players now, we got some good hitters,” Cora said. “Guys that even when they’re not swinging the bat well they’re getting on base. In the case of Kyle, right? And he’s actually trending up so it’s a good problem to have, and I think it gives us options late in games. We got a deeper bench, regardless of the starting (lineup), we can be aggressive as far as pinch hitting.”
The Red Sox on Wednesday will roll out an outfield consisting of Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe with J.D. Martinez at DH and Schwarber on first. And if they need him, Dalbec should be ready to go.