Brock Holt

Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

Cora explains decision to bench Holt one night after hitting for cycle vs. Yankees

John Tomase
October 09, 2018 - 6:45 pm

The Red Sox have a chance to eliminate the Yankees on Tuesday night and the guy who just hit for the cycle isn't in the lineup.

Alex Cora can explain.

Speaking to reporters in New York before the Red Sox played the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series with a chance to advance to the ALCS, Cora sounded comfortable with his decision to bench Brock Holt, who went 4-for-6 and hit for the cycle in Monday's 16-1 thrashing, with Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia on the mound.

"Honestly, somebody asked me earlier, it wasn't that hard, this one," Cora said. "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 Raffy (Devers), but at the same time, that guy Sabathia, he's pretty tough on lefties and we have to maximize our lineup."

As Cora noted, the decision to bench the left-handed hitting Holt is based entirely on the presence of Sabathia, who limited lefties to a .180 batting average this year, compared to .264 for right-handers.

"Tough league. It's a tough league," Cora said. "It's more about the guy on the mound. He's been great against lefties. The way we see it is like, we get him early with the righties or we have to grind with the righties through five. Obviously they're going to be all-in with the righties later on in the game. The way he's been managing, seems like (Zach) Britton and (Aroldis) Chapman are his late guys. Might get a righty in between there and we'll go to our options. But we had to take our best shots with the righties in the lineup."

With Sabathia on the mound, Cora benched Holt and Devers in favor of right-handed hitters Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Nunez, respectively.