Mark Kotasy scores during game 4 of the ALDS. (AP Photo)
Call it a hunch, but I still think the best is yet to come out of Mark Kotsay in these 2008 playoffs. Maybe I'm biased due to the fact that he wears the #11 on his back, which was once worn by one of my all-time favorite Red Sox, Billy Mueller. But obviously it goes deeper then a hunch and a number. I file Kotsay along with Youk into a category that I'm pretty sure I made up. And that category is, "If Bill Bellichek managed a baseball team he'd want this guy to play for him". Basically that's a fancy (non-fancy?) way of saying that Kotsay is versatile, a gamer, and an intelligent athlete.
Now that Mike Lowell is out for at least the ALCS Mark Kotsay is really going to be given an opportunity to shine. We briefly saw what Kotsay was capable of in Game 4 of the ALDS, where he had a key hit, scored a valuable run, and made some stellar plays at 1B. Now Kotsay isn't a 1B by trade, but he's plenty athletic enough to handle a position which is one of the easiest in the game. This helps give the Red Sox the best defense in the playoffs now, and we all saw in the ALDS how big of a role defense can play. I think we'll be seeing Sean Casey in more of a pinch hitter role now because of the defense Kotsay can bring to the table.
Not only is Kotsay going to continue to flash some leather, but you can also expect him to have solid playoff worthy at-bats. He's a patient hitter who fits right into the Sox game plan. Having him bat near the end of our lineup is also going to give him some RBI opportunities with the hitters that are in front of him.
So yeah, it's part hunch , part circumstance with Kotsay. But trust me, there'll be a time when you're watching one of these game when it'll click for you, and Kotsay will do something big (again). It's in the writing, and that's why the Red Sox are so good. It's not just the Papi's and Pedroia's, it's the Cora's, the Kotsay's, and the Casey's that have us charging once again to the Championship.