Boston Red Sox: Three up, three down after month of April

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 14: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox and J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after crossing home plate in the bottom of the eighth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 14: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox and J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after crossing home plate in the bottom of the eighth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his seventh inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

J.D. Martinez can claim the distinction of being one of the few players to not start the season unbelievably cold. In fact, despite a bit of a slump over the past few days, Martinez has picked up right where he left off. He leads the team with a .327 batting average and 37 hits and continues to provide his team with RBI opportunities.

The Red Sox need consistent production from all of their starters, but Martinez is, arguably, the key. The danger he poses to opposing pitchers with runners on base allows Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to see better pitches. Opponents have no breathing room in the top of the lineup as long as Martinez is going strong. Martinez hasn’t’ truly found his power stroke yet, though most power hitters don’t really get going until mid-May, but it’s a fact that he’s still as tough an out as anyone.

Betts and Benintendi got off to agonizingly slow starts, but they were able to climb out of their respective slumps in part thanks to Martinez. They’ve seen plenty of pitches to hit because of his presence, and that’s all good hitters need in order to get going. Betts may get the press, and deservedly so, but Martinez is the engine that keeps this offense running. His consistency will remain vitally important as the season wears on.