Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Brock Holt became the first player in postseason history to hit for the cycle Monday night. On Tuesday, he isn’t even in the starting lineup.

Alex Cora has opted for a right-handed heavy lineup against Yankees lefty C.C. Sabathia as the Sox look to close out New York in Game 4 of the ALDS.

Mookie Betts RF

Andrew Benintendi LF

Steve Pearce 1B

J.D. Martinez DH

Xander Bogaerts SS

Ian Kinsler 2B

Eduardo Nuñez 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Christian Vazquez C

It’s clear that Cora is playing the matchups instead of the hot hand.

Sabathia has been strong against left-handed hitters this year, holding them to a .180 batting average. That likely plays into the decision to bench Holt and Rafael Devers in favor of the right-handed hitting Kinsler and Nunez.

Cora is also going with a stronger defensive lineup with a sinkerballer on the mound in Rick Porcello. Nunez isn’t great at third base, but he’s better than Devers. Holt is serviceable at second, but Kinsler is a former gold glove award winner and still plays above-average defense.

It’s no secret that Porcello likes throwing to Sandy Leon, but Cora decided to stick with Christian Vazquez after he picked up two hits in Game 3. Vazquez is a decent hit and run candidate, as he showed Monday, so look for the Red Sox to play it aggressively at the bottom of the lineup if they get some traffic on the bases.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.