The Boston Red Sox have been struggling to score runs this season, but that all changed on Saturday night when the bats woke up and the runs poured in.
Members of Red Sox Nation have been clamoring since Opening Day for this lineup to finally wake up and impose their will on opposing pitchers. We’ve seen some upwards trends in the scoring as with each game that passes it seems the bats get a little hotter. But nothing could’ve prepared the fans or the team for the show they would put on in Chicago on Saturday night.
Something that the Red Sox became synonymous with during their 2018 World Series run was their ability to remain patient at the plate and get those incredibly clutch 2-out hits. That patience and pitcher breaking ability for the clutch hits showed up last in a massive way.
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Eduardo Rodriguez gave up a run in the first inning and that would be the last time a White Sox player would cross the plate until the bottom of the 8th inning. E-rod would get all the run support he’d need to pitch a gem the rest of the evening.
Boston would answer back in the 3rd inning which had seemed all but done as there were 2 outs on the board. But Boston would roar back and score 9 runs. Let me repeat that for the folks in the back. THE BOSTON RED SOX SCORED 9 RUNS IN A SINGLE INNING.
"“I just think hitting’s contagious,” Benintendi said. “You don’t want to be that guy to make that last out of the inning. So it just snowballed and they were all pretty good at-bats.”"
That is the kind of knockout offense that this lineup is capable of on any given night. Seriously, this was the dictionary definition of a full-team performance. Every batter in the lineup walked away from Guaranteed Rate Field with at least one hit on the night. Michael Chavis and Christian Vazquez each tallied four hits while Andrew Benintendi had a three himself. Rafael Devers and Steve Pearce would also add to the box score with a pair of knocks each.
Not only did the Red Sox display their hitting prowess but they flexed their muscle as well as they belted four home runs off of two different pitchers. The 3rd inning was something that should’ve made members of Red Sox Nation salivate as it’s been the closest thing we’ve seen this year to 2018’s dominance. Boston would answer again in the 4th inning by putting a five spot on the board and before Chicago knew what hit ’em they were losing 14-1.
Eduardo Nunez made his first start since returning to the Red Sox lineup from the IL and he didn’t waste time making an impact as he sent a Manny Banuelos offering to the seats. Chavis, best known as the “Ice Horse,” showed that he isn’t afraid of going yard adding a pair of homers to his stat line and giving him three bombs in two games.
Xander Bogaerts got the action started when he launched a 2-run homer in that fateful 3rd inning. Eleven batters would reach base and ten of them by way of hits in that inning before the White Sox could record the final out. That’s just some ridiculous stuff when you take a step back to look at just what happened.
"“We’ve been feeling that the lineups have been moving for a while,” Cora said. “It was just a matter of getting that big hit. Mookie got that hit and it was fun to watch. It wasn’t luck that we were barreling balls.”"
The big story developing this weekend isn’t just the hits and runs that the Red Sox are producing but who’s producing them. One night the lineup is cold except for the top of the order and the next night it’s the middle hitters getting it done. Saturday night was a complete team effort and everyone decided they wanted in on the fun.
A big bat that’s emerged in the order for Alex Cora is that of Chavis. Since he’s been called up it’s felt like this team has had an extra spark and some pep in its step. He isn’t perfect and does get quite a few strikeouts to his name but he’s also been collecting walks and smacking dingers left and right. With Nunez back, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes in the lineup or if he becomes more of a spot player but either way he’s a weapon AC wants to keep around.
"“Michael is doing an outstanding job. We’ll find at-bats for him,” Cora said prior to Saturday’s game. “[Núñez] is back, we’ll find matchups. As always, we try to go with the best lineup on that day. We know what Michael is doing offensively, so we’ll find ways for him to get at-bats, DH him, playing first, playing second, playing third. We’ll find a way to get him in the lineup.”"
Even though we were all celebrating with each and every run that crossed the plate last night I’m sure I’m not the only one that got that feeling in the pit of their stomach. What if this is too many runs? What if we score all of our runs tonight?
Both may seem absurd to an outsider but baseball fans have always had this mindset that scoring runs is like a bank account and just like with money, you can run out of them. I think this is more of what we’ll come to see and less of a flash in the pan. This feels more like an awakening of the sleeping giants.
The Red Sox still have a long way to go to even partially resemble the team that the league feared in 2018. But the 2019 squad could be even better as the pieces are all there. The pitching is coming around and getting sharp a the bats are getting red hot at the perfect time to erase the awful start to the season. May could be a huge month for Boston to make up some ground on the rest of the division. If they keep doing even a fraction of what they did last night, they’ll be on top in no time.