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Red Sox lineup: Is Brock Holt becoming their postseason first baseman?

Rob Bradford
September 22, 2018 - 4:02 pm

The immediate takeaway from Alex Cora's lineup Saturday was that Mookie Betts is not in it. Another day of rest for the outfielder and his oblique.

Andrew Benintendi LF, Ian Kinsler 2B, Rafael Devers 3B, J.D. Martinez RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Mitch Moreland DH, Brock Holt 1B, Blake Swihart C, Jackie Bradley Jr. CF.

Perhaps another noteworthy aspect of the grouping is that for the first time this season a catcher not named Sandy Leon is serving as the batterymate for Rick Porcello, with Swihart getting the call.

But perhaps the most impactful piece of the equation when it comes to preparing for Game 1 of the American League Division Series is the presence of Brock Holt at first base.

It is the third start of the season at first base for Holt, who comes into Saturday's game against the Indians with 25 innings at the position under his belt. But what makes this chance potentially intriguing is the notion he might land there when the playoffs roll around.

If Mitch Moreland was hitting at all he would be a lock to face whatever right-hander the Red Sox might face in the postseason, but he isn't hitting and hasn't been for some time. Since Aug. 25 Moreland is hitting just .114 with a .372 OPS without a single home run. 

Conversely, Holt has been the Red Sox' hottest hitter, going 10-for-22 (.455) since Sept. 11, with a 1.409 OPS and three homers. It's a surge that kept going in the series opener when the lefty-hitting infielder went 3-for-4.

They are obviously a pair of trends the Red Sox and their manager can't ignore. Hence, the start at first for Holt.

"He's been huge," Cora told reporters regarding Cora prior to Saturday night's game. "He can play the outfield, he can play everywhere in the infield. He's playing first base today because we want him to get repetitions. We know Mitch can play first base. He needs the repetitions at first base but I think offensively he's been amazing. He's been the whole season. Before he got hurt in Toronto he was hitting ball all over the place, against lefties, against righties. We can use him leading off an inning as a pinch-hitter or with traffic because we know he's going to the ball in play. He's been good."