Boston Red Sox lineup has delivered clutch two-out runs

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on April 5, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on April 5, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Red Sox are piling up runs with two outs in the inning

The inning isn’t over until you record all three outs and until you put them away, the Boston Red Sox lineup won’t stop doing damage.

The Red Sox scored eight runs in a thrilling comeback against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. All eight of those runs were scored with two outs in the inning.

Jays starter Steven Matz appeared to be cruising along after retiring the side in order to open the game and recording two quick outs to begin the second inning but the lefty quickly unraveled. Boston rallied with seven consecutive hits to put a five-spot on the board.

A three-run homer by Bobby Dablec gave the Red Sox their first lead in the game but they weren’t satisfied by going up by one run. Four more hits, capped by an RBI base hit from J.D. Martinez, put Boston up 5-2 after two innings.

Toronto would battle back to reclaim the lead while keeping the Red Sox scoreless until the ninth inning. Boston cut a two-run deficit in half when Alex Verdugo grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Dalbec to cross home plate. Verdugo was technically batting with only one out in the inning but the run scored as the second out as being recorded.

Down to their final out of the game, Martinez delivered a clutch two-run homer that traveled 402 feet to right center field.

The 250th home run of his career proved to be the game-winner, clinching the series for Boston and keeping them at the top of the division standings.

Martinez is no stranger to delivering in these situations. He’s eighth in the American League with a .413 average with runners in scoring position and fifth with a 1.278 OPS. When there are runners in scoring position with two outs, that average rises to .474 with a 1.668 OPS, both of which rank fourth in the league.

While Martinez has played a significant role in their success, the Red Sox have collectively performed well in two-out situations.

Boston ranks third in the majors and second in the AL with 85 runs scored when there are two outs and runners on base. They are batting .252 (6th) with a .791 OPS (3rd) under those circumstances. Those metrics improve slightly to a .253 average and .794 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs.

One area that the Red Sox have surprisingly struggled in this year is with a runner on third and less than two outs. The team is 25th in the majors with a .250 average and dead-last with a .562 OPS in those situations.

Boston faced this scenario with a runner on third and fewer than two outs only once in last night’s game against the Blue Jays, when Verdugo grounded out to score the runner from third. It was a successful out, but an out nonetheless that does nothing to improve their woeful statistics in those situations.

The Red Sox have more than made up for that specific limitation by thriving in almost every other scenario. They are second in the majors behind the Houston Astros  in runs scored and batting average while leading in slugging and OPS.

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This is one of MLB”s most dangerous lineups and their ability to do damage with two outs in the inning shows that opposing pitchers can’t get comfortable until they finish off the frame with that third out.