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Alex Cora explains decision to play Bradley over Benintendi in World Series Game 3

John Tomase
October 26, 2018 - 6:42 pm

LOS ANGELES -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora explained his decision to sit Andrew Benintendi instead of Jackie Bradley Jr. for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday, and it boils down to one word: defense.

With starting left fielder J.D. Martinez still feeling the effects of a rolled ankle, Cora wants Bradley’s glove and range alongside him to cover more ground, even though Benintendi would probably provide more offense against right-handed starter Walker Buehler.

“As far as matchups, for what we have information-wise, there's no big difference,” Cora said. “Maybe Beni has the edge. But Jackie's defense with J.D. in left field, it makes sense for us.”

Cora admitted that were this the regular season, Martinez wouldn’t be playing, out of an abundance of caution. But it’s not the regular season.

“It's October 26th,” Cora said. “He went through the repetitions and he told me he's ready to play. We're playing him in left.”

As for Benintendi, Cora likes the idea of bringing him off the bench. The other left-handed bats – Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, Rafael Devers – are in the starting lineup.

“We kept that bat on the bench and I think he'll show up in the middle of the game,” Cora said. “It's a good matchup for us against a righty or lefty. We feel comfortable with his bat. He can pinch-run, he can come in and play defense.”