Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts will remain in the leadoff spot for the time being
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora is changing his lineup with Mookie Betts moving back into the leadoff spot for the time being.
Mookie Betts will be batting leadoff for the Boston Red Sox, at least for now, according to manager Alex Cora. The Sox are off to a bad start and the new lineup change doesn’t seem to be working with Andrew Benintendi batting leadoff.
Last season, Betts killed it batting leadoff and won the AL MVP. With the Red Sox in a slump, it makes sense for Betts to return to the role he has thrived in.
In 132 games as a leadoff hitter last season, Betts had 178 hits with 32 home runs, 79 RBI’s, a .346 batting average and a 1.083 OPS. Benintendi batted leadoff in 21 games had 28 hits with 5 home runs. His average was .322 with an OPS of .979. Benintendi is much more successful when he bats second in the lineup. In 120 games last season he had 137 hits, 11 home runs, 70 RBI’s, a .285 average and .809 OPS from the No. 2 hole.
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Benintendi went 2-for-12 when batting leadoff this season, while Betts is 5-for-23 with one homer and one walk so far. It’s so early in the season but it’s good Cora is making adjustments now instead of later.
Another thing is the Red Sox need to keep Betts happy if they want to keep him long term. If he performs better batting leadoff then he should bat leadoff.
Betts batting first sets the tone for the rest of the lineup. The power be brings to begin the game or an inning is significant. He’s fast on the bases and is known to steal a lot. Betts is good in hit and run situations. If he is on first and was going to steal, Benintendi could get a nice hit that with Betts’ speed you could see him on third base or even score.
Overall, it’s a very wise decision to have Betts leading off. With the starting pitching struggling you need the offense to step it up what better person than the reigning AL MVP to lead the way? Cora mentioned that the lineup could still be rearranged when Dustin Pedroia and Steve Pearce come back. Pedroia could get the two spot in the lineup which could put Benintendi third. Either way, Betts should be at the top spot for the remainder of the season.