Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports

Why is Deven Marrero starting over Rafael Devers? John Farrell explains

Rob Bradford
October 06, 2017 - 1:14 pm

HOUSTON -- What John Farrell's decision to start Deven Marrero at third base in Game 2 of the American League Division Series comes down to is this: He thinks Marrero can hit this major league left-handed pitcher better than Devers.

Farrell did add that there was some consideration to the fact that Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz might elicit more ground balls to the left side of the diamond, leading to the need for Marrero's glove. But that clearly isn't the main impetus for the choice.

Despite Marrero's anemic offensive production at Triple-A, Farrell said he has seen a different hitter since Marrero arrived in the big leagues. The righty batter has totaled a .291 batting average and .944 OPS against left-handed pitching with the Red Sox this season. And with Houston starter Dallas Keuchel on the mound (.145 vs. lefty hitters this season), Farrell wanted to prioritize getting the righty bats of Marrero and Chris Young (who will DH) in the lineup.

"One, he got opportunity here," Farrell said of Marrero. "And I always felt with Devy, even in spring training, I think he's always had this view and confidence to play at this level. As he's come here, I thought he's been a better player at the big league level than at the minor league level. Then he started to get some hits and the confidence grew. I think you go back to that night in Chicago where he has a big night against Quintana. I think he really fast forwarded that mindset and he's continued to handle left-handers well. Whether it's Wade Miley in Baltimore to other guys that he has faced."

As for Devers, a strong case could be made that even though Keuchel is on the mound the rookie would be a good fit. The third baseman is hitting .400 with a 1.074 OPS against left-handers this season, and came away with one of his team's two RBI in Game 1.

"The one thing that Keuchel poses against left-handers is the ability to sink the ball in and then sweep a breaking ball away," Farrell said. "So everything is fighting downward. He's got the ability to force guys to turn on balls even though they may be pulled foul, then expose away. I just think he's obviously handled left-handers much more effectively than right handers."


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