Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has been on fire this season, but as we head into the All-Star break he’s become frozen at the plate.
Red Sox DH/outfielder J.D. Martinez is considered one of the best and most calculated hitters in the game today. The work he puts in outside of the nine innings is often talked about among the pundits. He can be seen regularly recording his batting practices and analyzing his swing and motion. But even with all of the work that he puts in daily, he’s having one of the coldest spells he’s ever had in a Boston uniform.
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Red Sox Nation has become reliant on the often clutch abilities of Martinez and has felt the sting of the bat missing lately. More often than not last season he was at the center of big innings and huge rallies for the Sox. This year has brought a different type of season for J.D. and it’s not something we’ve seen from the slugger since he joined the Sox.
Now, this season isn’t a complete throwaway for the powerhouse righty. He’s currently sitting on a .284/.362/.518/.880 which is nothing to scoff at and will most likely earn him an All-Star bid. In this most recent stretch though it’s clear that J.D. is at a loss at the plate and is searching for answers to the questions he’s asking. In his last seven games, he’s just 5-32 with a .156 BA with 3R/2RBI/4BB/11K.
Luckily for the Red Sox, the rest of the roster seems to be stepping up in the absence of Martinez. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have put the weight of the team on their shoulders offensively while J.D. is in this cold spell. As he stands at the plate for every at-bat it just seems like he isn’t seeing the pitch. When it used to be automatic that he knew what was coming next, the look on his face now feels like he guessing with each toss.
J.D. has had some moments this season where he was dealing with back issues but Red Sox manager Alex Cora doesn’t believe that the injury has flared up.
"“He’s just chasing bad pitches,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Sliders down and away. If you start looking at the numbers, it’s sliders the last two weeks. He’s been chasing those pitches. He swung the bat well in Baltimore. He was driving the ball all over the place. But as far as health, he’s OK. Just right now he’s not locked in.”"
Could his back be bothering him and he’s just keeping it close to the vest? Absolutely. This wouldn’t be the first time that an athlete has kept an injury to themselves and it comes out later that they were dealing with it. I don’t think it’s that though as this team has been very transparent with their injuries and haven’t tried any chicanery.
The upside of having to go to London for the upcoming Yankees series is that there will be some extra rest days in the schedule. The All-Star break is also on the horizon and should allow J.D. more time to get healthy if necessary and clear his mind before the second half.
All great hitters will eventually go through a slump and just as that slump comes it’ll go. J.D. Martinez is one of the best hitters in the game today and with the work that he puts in, he’ll eventually get back to top form. As we’ve finally hit the midpoint of the season having J.D. hitting consistently again will be a major necessity if the Red Sox want to make a run.