J.D. Martinez redeems himself in Red Sox walk-off
Woo, buddy. Last night feels like a fever dream wrapped in a hallucination planted in the middle of a movie. I had to check the timeline this morning just to make sure that the Red Sox actually won in the 12th last night and I wasn’t just dreaming it. For much of that game, it felt like it just wasn’t going to happen as chance after chance was squashed out by the Rays. Seriously, how many times do you have to get a runner in scoring position without being able to get him across the plate?
That all changed though when J.D. Martinez rounded third base and raced home for the game-tying run. Oh, wait, there was only one out and he got doubled off because it wasn’t actually a hit? That’s right! Boston’s big slugger lost track of the game situation and once the ball came off the bat he began his charge toward home to bring things level. Don’t worry Red Sox Nation, when J.D. spoke to the media after the game he let everyone in on the secret, it was all planned!
“It was planned,” Martinez joked after the game. “You see, I knew if I messed up, Christian would come up the next inning and hit a home run off Castillo. It was all planned.”
J.D. can joke about it now but he really did get bailed out big by The Moon Man. Christian Vazquez followed the plan to perfection and launched a ball that some say still hasn’t landed yet to bring things even. I think I was one of the many watching last night that had to scratch their heads at what Martinez was doing but it became clear pretty quickly that he lost track of the game.
From there the game became a tit-for-tat affair as when the Rays would tack on another run, the Red Sox would answer right back. Finally, Tampa took the lead in the top of the 12th and by then it felt like Boston had used up all of their chances to get the win. The dominoes fell exactly how they needed to in order to get Martinez back at the plate with two men on, exactly what he needed. A crack of the bat, a misread by Randy Arozarena and Dirty Water started blaring at Fenway Park.
A great moment of redemption for the slugger who could’ve gotten them closer to that win much earlier in the night. He even had a chance to get the win in extras but just couldn’t get the ball where it needed to go. To be able to come through when your team needs you the most is a massive boost to the confidence meter. This season hasn’t quite gotten off to the start that Red Sox Nation would’ve liked but Martinez has absolutely been the MVP of this squad through the first week of 2021.
“It was great,” Martinez said. “Obviously, all jokes aside, after I made that mental mistake on second and then coming up with the go-ahead run on third in the ninth and then hitting that ball… Adames made a great play on it. Not winning it there, it felt good to come through there in that situation.”
Through the first five games of the season, J.D. is smashing an insane .476/.522/1.000/1.522 with 2 homers and 9 RBI. He’s also leading the AL in Total Bases with 21 and is leading the entire MLB in doubles with 5. After a quiet spring training, there was some worry about whether or not Martinez was still going to be a bit off from 2020 but he’s making sure to shut those worries right the hell up. He’s Boston’s most consistent bat right now and is pretty much putting the team on his back while everyone else catches up.
The Red Sox came out of the gates ice cold to start the season but a pair of games with Tampa Bay and a series win have them right back on track and can see a .500 record this afternoon. J.D. Martinez is playing a massive role in Boston getting out of the basement and climbing the standings in the AL East. If he keeps hitting the ball even remotely close to the way we’ve seen so far then I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the MVP race this fall. And to think, he’s so good that he can draw up a plan to get thrown out, have a teammate hit a bomb, and then walk it off later in the night.