Alex Verdugo’s clutch gene leading to Red Sox success
Alex Verdugo came to Boston under extremely unfair circumstances for him personally. Being the main return in a trade that saw the Red Sox deal one of their most talented players in franchise history. However, since actually doing what he was brought here to do – play baseball – Verdugo has become a strong fan favorite in an extraordinary fashion.
After hitting .308 for the 2020 MLB season, Verdugo has picked up where he left off. He’s recorded 31 RBI through the first two and a half months of the season, as he’s been a pillar for the team at the top of the batting order. From clutch doubles to hustle plays, Dugie has continued to set the tone for the Red Sox.
He is a huge reason as to why the Sox are seen to be overachieving in the standings this early on in the year. They currently sit just half a game back of Tampa Bay and possess a solid 42-27 record. Not bad for a team that couldn’t even break .500 last year. With some big games on the schedule as we approach the All-Star break, we could very well see Boston leap frog Tampa and move back into first place for the second half.
Verdugo carries himself with a love for the game of baseball. When he was first traded to Boston, he underlined his love for the Red Sox and David Ortiz, then the video surfaced of him meeting one of his baseball heroes.
It would be hard for anyone to emulate what Ortiz did in Boston, but as far as effort goes, Verdugo is doing everything he can to put in as much effort as others before him have. Nobody was more clutch for this organization than Big Papi but you better believe Dugie wants to have his name linked with coming through when it’s needed the most.
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His three-run homer in the eighth against Atlanta on Tuesday is just one example of both his pride and performance. He may not be Mookie Betts, but that was never the ceiling for him. The Sox do have a legitimate ball player here though, and he’s a player who can win games with just one simple swing of the bat, he’s clutch. It’s almost as if when the game is on the line he has a way of slowing down time and seeing the scene in a different way. The man has ice running through his veins and electricity running through his bat. He was born to come up in the big spots.
Manager Alex Cora highlighted how good of a hitter Verdugo is in his press conference by pointing out he can do just about everything you want a hitter to do from hitting for average to being patient at the plate. Days before delivering that vital homer against Atlanta, he came through with a walk-off hit as the Sox erased a four-run deficit to beat Toronto 6-5. He just has an ability to make game-changing plays, and that’s the type of player that any ball club is always after.
We’re not even halfway into the season yet, so there’s a long way to go. But, I don’t think many people expected this team to have 42 wins in their first 69 games. It’s a testament to the character of this clubhouse. There are plenty of winners in there from Xander Bogaerts to J.D. Martinez, adding Verdugo gives this side another different dimension both offensively and defensively. If he can keep up the levels of clutch performances he’s already brought to the table, then there’s no reason why the Sox can’t keep on winning games. He’s a player who thrives with the pressure on him and that’s why Boston and Verdugo are such a good match.