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Red Sox lineup: Steve Pearce, Eduardo Nunez, Sandy Leon all get starts

Rob Bradford
October 05, 2018 - 3:20 pm

Alex Cora has his first postseason lineup.

With lefty J.A. Happ on the mound for the Yankees the Red Sox manager has stacked his batting order with right-handed hitters, with Eduardo Nunez getting the nod at third base over Rafael Devers and Steve Pearce starting at first base over Mitch Moreland.

Also of note, Ian Kinsler keeps hot-hitting Brock Holt on the bench getting the nod at second base.

"The thing is that we can use him," said Cora regarding Holt. "Brock is going to be very important for us and I talked t him yesterday about it. Just because he’s not starting doesn’t mean he’s not very important with what we’re trying to accomplish. I told him to be ready the whole game, just be ready to hit. The way he’s swinging the bat, obviously with the lefty we have three options. He’s doing an outstanding job coming off the bench. He’s putting good at-bats. We know we can start him at any spot, second, third the outfield. Most likely the outfield is going to stay the same throughout. But I do feel that there are going to be spots with men in scoring position that we can use him and he doesn't have to face a lefty. It’s going to be a righty. And we’ll be OK."

Pearce is 11-for-22 against his former teammate, Happ, while Eduardo Nunez (8-for-31) and Kinsler (7-for-27) having moderate success vs. the starter. Leon is just 1-for-10 against the Yankees hurler but is expected to be pinch-hit for relatively early in the game if the game is tied or the Red Sox are trailing.

"The three-four-five, we have three options," said Cora of hitting Pearce third. "In the end that was the winner. I think his at-bats, getting on base, you can see Happ, he’s aggressive with everybody. Kind of like, with him, there are more changeups and he’s been able to walk. Then if the two guys get on base right away, you have to pitch to him. He’s been successful with him. You look at the at-bats and it’s not just the home runs, it’s the quality of them. We talk about it, I talked to Timmy (Hyers) and Andy (Barkett), and send a text to (director of analytics) Zach (Scott) up there. He was like, whatever you feel. That’s a good one. I think the last time he hit third here, he hit three, so."

Here is the Red Sox' lineup with Chris Sale on the mound for the hosts:

Mookie Betts RF

Andrew Benintendi LF

Steve Pearce 1B

J.D. Martinez DH

Xander Bogaerts SS

Eduardo Nunez 3B

Ian Kinsler 2B

Sandy Leon C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF