Why Bobby Dalbec Is Out Of Lineup Against Orioles’ Left-Handed Starter

Cora pointed to Dalbec's recent 0-for-10 slide, and Baltimore's bullpen


September 30, 2021

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows with the playoff race as tight as it is every decision needs to be carefully calculated.

Bobby Dalbec, who has been as hot as anyone over the last few months, was left out of the starting lineup Thursday with the Red Sox set to face the Baltimore Orioles. Cora, though, explained his reasoning.

“I think he’s been chasing pitches up in the zone and, at the same time, that bullpen is very heavy right-handed,” Cora said before Thursday’s series finale at Camden Yards. “So we kind of switched it up, put Kyle (Schwarber) in there and Alex (Verdugo) and Hunter (Renfroe) behind J.D. (Martinez). The hope is to get to the starter early and there’s going to be some righties. So I think it’s going to be good having Kyle hitting second, grinding at bats and getting on base. He hasn’t slugged against lefties but his on-base-percentage is high. So that’s the thought process.

“And I think obviously you always think about ‘Yeah, he (Dalbec) might run into one, right now, and hit a homer against a left-handed pitcher,’ but at the same I think the last few days he’s been chasing pitches out of the zone so it’ll be good for him to take a breather and we went with that lineup.”

Dalbec was hitting .290 during the month of September before a recent three-game slide (0-for-10 with six strikeouts).

He certainly has been better against lefties, however. He is hitting .277 in 173 at-bats (89 games) against left-handed pitchers with 22 extra-base hits and 10 homers. Those numbers drop somewhat considerably as he’s hit .213 against righties in 239 at-bats (108 games) with 91 strikeouts.

Red Sox fans are hoping Cora’s decision pays off with Boston a mere one-game back of the New York Yankees for the first Wild Card spot.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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