As the World Series shifts to St. Louis for Games 3-5, the Boston Red Sox bench could serve as an important factor if the team wants to be successful in winning a championship.
Since manager John Farrell announced that David Ortiz will start at first base in Game 3 on Saturday, it gives Boston more options off the bench in terms of power hitters. Ortiz starting means that Mike Napoli will come off the bench and be a vital pinch hitter when called upon depending on the situation. Same can be made for Mike Carp, who has also been a clutch hitter for the team this year.
With Napoli having a terrific postseason, it goes to show why the Red Sox have a strong bench. It’s not every day that a World Series contender can have the options that Boston has. Both Napoli and Carp should expect to play key roles late in the game when needed. Napoli hit the ball well in St. Louis when the Texas Rangers faced the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.
Don’t count out both Jonny Gomes and Will Middlebrooks also getting pinch hitting opportunities as well if needed. Gomes has had a good postseason and with his track record, he could be useful in a pinch hitting type of role if Daniel Nava starts due to a bigger left field in Busch Stadium.
Expect to see Quintin Berry be used more if the Red Sox needs a run late in the game. Berry has showed terrific base running instincts in his brief stint with the team and with this series most likely going to be a long one, Berry should have plenty of opportunities on the base paths.
It will be critical for the Boston bench to make the most of the opportunities they get either pinch hitting or pinch running with the next three games in a National League park. If not, it could be a difference maker of who thinks this World Series in the end.