The good thing about having the kind of infield depth that the Boston Red Sox have is the ability to lean on the hot hand of the moment. In Boston’s case, this particularly applies to the first base and DH spots. The Red Sox possess two very capable first baseman in Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland, both of whom can also can also slot in and produce at DH. Right now, Ramirez is Alex Cora’s first choice at 1B, but is it time to switch Moreland into that role and use Hanley as the platoon guy?
First things first, there have been a TON of calls for Moreland to take JBJ’s spot in the lineup. However, Cora seems pretty intent on sticking with Bradley through this funk of his, so that’s off the table right away. Now, to get back to the issue at hand…
Ramirez busted out of the 2018 gates on a tear, bashing 3 HR, 5 doubles and 17 RBI to go along with a .330 BA in the months of March and April. Since May 1st, though, he’s gone on an extended slump, compiling just a .181/.221/.333 slash line. Although he’s added 3 more home runs to his total, he’s only notched 6 RBI in that span, making it safe to say that he’s cooled down drastically since his hot start.
(Photo credit: Boston Herald)
Moreland, on the other hand, has been a model of consistency. He hit .305 in March and April compared to .325 so far in May. His home run totals for those two time spans are identical at 3 apiece, and his RBI totals are on pace to line up similarly, with his 8 RBI through 23 days in May creeping up towards his 13 RBI in March and April. Add in the fact that Moreland sports Gold Glove winning defense (although Ramirez has been surprisingly impressive with the glove since transitioning to first base), and there’s a strong case to be made for naming Moreland the new starting first baseman.
Of course, things could change, streaks could shift, and trends could be reversed. As already mentioned, though, the Red Sox have the luxury of depth at the 1B position, and with both Moreland and Ramirez able to fill in admirably at DH, neither should suffer a huge cut in playing time. When one of the 3 normal outfielders needs a day off, J.D. Martinez can play LF, and either one of Moreland or Ramirez can DH while the other starts at first; the same for when Martinez is due for a rest day.
We’re now about 50 games into the season, right when the real tinkering with lineups begins, so why not lean on the guy who’s raking? At this point it can’t hurt more than it would help.