Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez has become a juggernaut
This season has been a rollercoaster for the Boston Red Sox but it’s been nothing but ups for Christian Vazquez as he’s having a career year.
The Red Sox are now officially in their second half and find themselves doing battle with the Dodgers at Fenway Park. With lots to achieve with the remaining time, this season one man seems to be on a mission to get back to the Fall Classic. Christian Vazquez came into this season with a big question mark next to his name and he’s more than earned this spot in the lineup.
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Boston began the year carrying three catchers on the roster as Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, and Vazquez were all vying for the job. Leon would soon find himself DFA’d and Swihart was sent to Arizona. Vazqy was the sole catcher left in the lineup but he would soon be re-joined by Leon. The two have split the catching duties though it’s Vaz setting himself apart with his bat.
Having secured the starting spot on the team it was like a fire was lit under Vazquez and it hasn’t cooled at all this year. In 2018, Christian put up a paltry .207/.257/.283/.540 with 3HR and 16 RBI. Just to give some insight into the type of season that Vazqy is having he currently owns a .302/.335/.535/.869 and has a career-high 15HR and 42 RBI.
Those numbers are just freakin’ ridiculous. The amount of work that he’s put in to become a foundation of this lineup can be seen on a nightly basis. Vazquez knew he wasn’t contributing to the best of his abilities last year and he seems to be on a warpath to erase 2018 from people’s memories.
"“You don’t want to suck. You know?” Vazquez said. “You want to help the team win. I think I did in the playoffs a little bit. That’s why in the offseason I made some adjustments to improve my hitting.”"
Whatever he did in the offseason is clearly working and Vazquez is becoming one of the big bats for Alex Cora and it couldn’t have come any sooner. Christian finds himself among a group of guys in Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts that re putting this Red Sox team on their backs.
Vaz credits a lot of his success this year not only to the work he’s done with hitting coaches but to constant communication with Cora.
"“In the offseason, we talk a lot,” Vazquez said. “He knows what I was doing. I think you can see it now. It’s a big difference from all my career to this year. I think we need to continue doing this because it looks good.”"
Ahead of tonight’s clash with the Dodgers Cora announced the lineup and Vazquez will be at first base. This gives Michael Chavis the night off as he’s carried the workload at first with Steve Pearce and Mitch Moreland still on the mend. This further exhibits the versatility that Vazqy can offer Cora when called upon to do so.
Sandy Leon will get the catching duties tonight as Chris Sale will be on the mound and those two are automatic together. Cora seems confident in having Christian at first and knows that the Red Sox can’t afford to remove his hot bat from the order.
"“Christian will be fine,” Cora said. “He’s a good defender, he has good footwork. He has played first base in winter ball before, he played in the World Series. We have to keep that bat there.”"
The Red Sox have a great opportunity to wipe out much of the deficit they made for themselves in the first half with a strong showing against the Dodgers. Having Christian Vazquez in the lineup every night only boosts the success rate of those chances. If he can recreate the success he had in the first half in the second, then the Sox could very well find themselves back in the World Series.