BALTIMORE — Just when you were absolutely, positively certain the time has come for the Red Sox to give up on Will Middlebrooks, Mike Moustakas comes along to restore your faith in sticking with a promising, young slugger.

Moustakas is basically the Kansas City Royals’ version of Middlebrooks. They play the same position (third base), have a nearly identical slash line over the past two seasons (.213/.265/.364 for Middlebrooks, .223/.279/.363 for Moustakas), and have fallen so short of expectations that both have been demoted to the minor leagues.

The only evidence that Middlebrooks and Moustakas weren’t separated at birth is the fact that they were born two days apart in September of 1988.

But while the Red Sox can’t possibly commit to Middlebrooks as their Opening Day third baseman for a third consecutive season, Moustakas’ resurgent postseason is proof that perhaps they shouldn’t run away from him entirely.

Moustakas hit a two-run homer on a full-count pitch from Baltimore Orioles lefty reliever Brian Matusz in the 10th inning of Game 1 of the AL Championship Series Friday night, and it proved to be the difference in the upstart Royals’ 8-6 victory. It also was Moustakas’ third homer in 16 at-bats in the postseason. He went deep twice in Kansas City’s three-game Division Series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.

“I feel great at the plate right now,” Moustakas said. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how confident I am. I want to go out and do whatever I can to help this team win ballgames. If I’ve got to bunt, if I’ve got to hit and run, move a guy over, that’s what I’ve got to do.”

After all, Moustakas has never known success in the big leagues to be anything but fleeting.

A former first-round pick and the second overall selection in …read more