Red Sox Strut: Catcher Christian Vazquez, LHP Drew Pomeranz
By Sean Penney
Position Player who gets to Strut
As exciting as Moreland’s walk-off homer was, Christian Vazquez provided one earlier in the week that arguably gave the Red Sox their biggest win of the season.
It was bad enough that starter Chris Sale was hammered for a season-high seven runs by the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox rallied back, only for lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel to suffer a rare blown save. Sometimes it’s just not your day, so there’s nothing to do but move on to the next game. This wasn’t one of those times, at least as far as Vazquez was concerned.
Boston started the rally with a one-out single by Devers in the ninth. Those efforts seemed to be on life support when Mitch Moreland swung and missed at strike three, but the catcher let the ball pass him to allow Moreland to reach first base safely. Instead of the game being over, the Red Sox were given another chance.
Big mistake. Vazquez made the Indians pay by blasting a sky scraping three-run shot to center off closer Cody Allen. The most unlikely of candidates, a defensive-minded catcher with only three career home runs entering the game, turned into a walk-off hero.
The 26-year old is starting to shed the reputation of being a catcher who is all glove, no bat. He recently put together a seven-game hit streak. He went 8-for-19 (.421) last week to raise his season average to .280 – a full 40 points above his previous career high.
Vazquez still isn’t hitting for much power, but he’s set career highs in doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, SLG and OPS. He’s even thrown in five steals, a notable total considering Vazquez had never swiped a bag entering this season.
A hefty batting average and a thrilling game-winning home run give Vazquez the honor to Strut this week.