Which Red Sox hitter will take the first ride in the laundry cart in 2022?
Red Sox hitters who homer this season will be going for a ride
It’s back! Yes, Major League Baseball is back with a brief delay created by the lockout but that’s not all that will be returning for the 2022 season. The Boston Red Sox are brining back the laundry cart.
The team’s social media account shared a video featuring backup catcher Kevin Plawecki pushing the cart around JetBlue Park. One of the highlights of the clip shows Plawecki giving a free ride to a cardboard cutout featuring the head of Rafael Devers, who needed some practice runs because he’s “gonna hit a lot of homers this year.”
The tradition of Red Sox players pushing their teammates in a laundry cart to celebrate a home run began near the end of the shortened 2020 season. Plawecki and Jason Varitek are credited with being the masterminds of this idea, which was officially introduced in September of that season during a visit to Tropicana Field when Christian Vazquez launched a homer off Charlie Morton.
Red Sox players have had some fun with this tradition, which gives a boost to clubhouse chemistry and might even provide a little bit of extra motivation for hitters at the plate. Everyone wants a ride in the cart.
As we prepare for the start of a new season, we have to ask – who gets the first ride in 2022?
The Red Sox will face a stiff challenge on Opening Day in the Bronx against Gerrit Cole but several hitters in this lineup have had some success against the Yankees ace.
One of those hitters is Enrique Hernandez, who will get the first crack at Cole as the leadoff man. Kike is 5-for-11 (.455) in his career against Cole. He led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot against him in a game at Fenway Park last June. He’s certainly capable of doing it again.
Rafael Devers only has four hits in 19 career at-bats against Cole but three of those hits left the ballpark. Those three homers are the most that any current member of the Red Sox has tagged Cole with. One of those homers came four batters after Kike had led off with a homer on June 27, a game in which the Red Sox roughed up the Yankees ace for five earned runs and three homers in a 9-2 victory.
J.D. Martinez had the third Red Sox home run against Cole that day. Martinez is only batting .240 against the right-hander but he has homered twice while producing a .935 OPS against him.
Alex Verdugo isn’t typically a home run threat but he does have one in his career against Cole to go along with a .286 average in 14 at-bats.
Xander Bogaerts (.208 average) and Trevor Story (.167) have struggled to tally hits against Cole but they each have homered against him once.
Vazquez has never taken Cole deep but he does own a solid .294 average against him. As the player who sat in the cart for its initial launch, we can’t count out the veteran catcher.
A pitcher as dominant as Cole is capable of shutting down any lineup but the Red Sox have about as much of a chance as any team of getting to the four-time All-Star. Boston’s bats won’t necessarily produce any home runs on Opening Day but their track record suggests the odds are fairly good.
Even if they don’t come away with any homers against Cole or the Yankees bullpen in the first game of the season, we know it won’t be long before Red Sox hitters start going to for rides in the laundry cart.