Red Sox: Three prior mistakes Alex Cora must adjust before Opening Day
Red Sox Mistake #3: The Leadoff Man
Finally, one of if not the most peculiar things that Cora did that spring training was shuffling around his lineup. Well, he didn’t really shuffle the lineup more so as he swapped Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts in the batting order. Doesn’t sound like it’d be that big of a deal right? Well, it was, and the Boston offense suffered greatly for it.
Betts was the leadoff man for that incredible run in 2018 and Benny would often by behind him in the order with the intent of getting Mookie around the base paths. It was a system that worked like a finely oiled machine, Mookie would get on and Benintendi would get him closer to scoring. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. However, for some unknown reason, and I’m sure there is one but in no way will it be good enough, AC switched the two.
This would cause both guys to have terrible starts to the season and neither would recover to the points they saw in the previous year. Benny just couldn’t get the grasp of being the leadoff guy and Mookie’s game didn’t translate into being the #2.
The experiment would fail and eventually, we’d see the positional return from 2018 but it was too late by then and the offense was sunk. It wasn’t just the fact that Cora swapped the two but it was that he wouldn’t make the decision until late and would often tinker and experiment.
We’ve already heard from the skipper that he will have a concrete leadoff hitter just as we have in relation to the closer. But again, we have no idea who it is and I don’t like that. Despite not being with the team in 2020 we know that AC didn’t miss a pitch and knows exactly what this team is. He knows who he has and who can excel at the position and who can’t.
Why again be mysterious with who it may be? Give a name or two that you feel can be the go-to for the job and go from there, that’s all.