3. The Los Angeles Dodgers now realize the NL advantage
One of the biggest questions entering Game 3 was how Alex Cora would manage the Red Sox with no designated hitter and the pitcher due to hit. Cora opted to start J.D. Martinez in left field alongside Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. with Andrew Benintendi on the bench.
With a southpaw going in Rich Hill, Cora might opt for the same lineup or could even move Mookie Betts to second base and bring Benintendi in the field. Or he could substitute Benintendi for Bradley, there are multiple options.
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At the end of the day, though, not having a DH had an obvious impact on the way Cora managed this game. The Los Angeles Dodgers are usually the team that runs out of position players first. This time it was the Red Sox.
Boston opted to pinch run Ian Kinsler for J.D. Martinez in the tenth inning, taking a huge bat out of the lineup for the rest of the game (although Cora had no idea this game would go 18 innings). Benintendi was used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and did not play the rest of the game, either.
Not having a designated hitter takes at least one bat out of the Sox’ lineup and forces Cora to make decisions late. When that happens, it is clear that the Dodgers have the advantage in depth and versatility as Cora has no pinch hitters for the majority of extra innings.
Now that the Dave Roberts has seen this, he can force Cora’s hand to make decisions and potentially burn batters early in the game. Force the issue, play aggressively; if there is a left-handed pitcher on the mound and Justin Turner on deck and Manny Machado in the hole, bunt him over, make Cora think about pulling that southpaw early in the game.
Make Cora think about using pinch hitters early in the game rather than late in the game. Make Cora manage the game like an NL manager. Because his one game in LA was managed poorly.