A dreadful start to the 2019 season by the Boston Red Sox has been partially salvaged by strong performances from first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Where would the Boston Red Sox be without Mitch Moreland? The reigning World Series champions certainly aren’t where they want to be at the bottom of the AL East but a miserable start to the season would appear utterly hopeless without the heroics of Moreland.
The early-season surge continued Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays as Moreland led the rally with his team-leading fifth home run of the season. He has now blasted a homer in four consecutive games in which he’s recorded an official at-bat. Most of those long balls have proved significant and this time was no different. His seventh-inning shot tied the game, wiping out what had once been a five-run deficit.
Toronto would retake the lead an inning later on a solo home run by Rowdy Tellez that wasn’t crushed quite as far as Statcast initially led us to believe yet had plenty of distance to put the Blue Jays up by a run. Moreland wasn’t done though. His double to deep center drove in Mookie Betts to knot the score at six in the ninth inning. While he was replaced by a pinch-runner, it was Moreland’s spot on the bases that Eduardo Nunez took over when he scored the winning run on Rafael Devers‘ walk-off base hit.
There haven’t been may Red Sox victories this season but Moreland has had his fingerprints all over each of them.
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Boston’s first win of 2019 came in Seattle when Moreland came off the bench with a three-run homer in the ninth inning, a perfect reenactment from his pinch-hit home run in the World Series. During the next series in Oakland, Moreland tied the game with a two-run double, setting his teammates up to clinch the win in the ninth inning. Moreland’s solo shot in Arizona proved to be the only run scored in that pitcher’s duel.
Four wins on the season and Moreland has homered in three of them. He has either driven in the game-winning or game-tying runs in all four wins. It’s no exaggeration to claim that the Red Sox may have found themselves buried in an inescapable 0-13 hole to begin the season if they didn’t have Moreland’s bat.
In a lineup loaded with All-Stars, Silver Sluggers, and the reigning MVP, it’s Moreland who has been the most indispensable hitter for the Red Sox this season. The lefty has been a middle-of-the-order, clutch-hitting, meat-and-potatoes eating, home run-swatting slugger who has anchored an offense that has been a bit slow to live up to its powerhouse reputation.
Not much has gone right for the Red Sox this season but it seems as if Moreland can do no wrong. Mitchy Two Bags has blossomed into Mitchy Four Bags and Boston is reaping the benefits. The 33-year old made his first All-Star appearance last year and could take his production to the next level with another career year.