Red Sox offense erupts for 16 runs behind strong supporting cast

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: Kike Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox bats during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: Kike Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox bats during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox lineup was firing on all cylinders in Chicago

The offensive woes that plagued the Boston Red Sox during their early-season slump had very little to do with the stars in the middle of the order. Their top trio have been performing essentially all season but there were too many holes in the lineup to maintain consistent run production. That wasn’t the case Tuesday night in Chicago when it took a complete team effort to generate Boston’s best offensive performance of the 2022 season.

The Red Sox posted season-highs with 16 runs, 19 hits, four home runs and nine extra-base hits. The 13-run margin in the 16-3 route was their largest of the season.

All nine members of the starting lineup tallied at least one hit, including seven multi-hit performances. Eight of them drove in at least one RBI.

J.D. Martinez led the way with four hits to raise his batting average to a league-leading .366. It was his second four-hit performance in his last four games. Rafael Devers collected a pair of hits, including his team-leading 10th home run. He leads the AL with 59 hits this season. Xander Bogaerts was the only member of the starting lineup who didn’t record an RBI but he doubled, walked and scored twice.

The suddenly surging Trevor Story, fresh off of earning Player of the Week honors, stayed hot with four hits and four RBI. He blasted another home run, his sixth in his last five games.

The stars did what they are expected to do. This game was about the supporting cast chipping in. Up and down the lineup, the Red Sox received contributions from everyone.

It starts at the top of the lineup with Enrique Hernandez, who belted a home run to left field on the first pitch of the game. With a two-hit performance, Kike’s season average has finally reached the Mendoza Line.

Franchy Cordero was the hero on Sunday when he smashed a walk-off grand slam to defeat the Mariners. He stayed hot in Chicago with two hits, two RBI and a walk.

Christian Vazquez doesn’t hit many home runs and he typically saves them for clutch situations. That wasn’t the case this time, as his three-run homer in the fifth put the Red Sox up 16-2. Vazquez had three hits in the game, extending his hitting streak to six games. He’s hitting a scorching .450 during this streak.

Jackie Bradley Jr. added a pair of hits for his second consecutive two-hit game. One of those hits was a double, his third in the last two games and 12th of the season.

Alex Verdugo was the last starter in the lineup to join the hit parade, driving an RBI double to left-center field in the fifth inning.

Even if we were to ignore the production from the star trio of Martinez-Devers-Bogaerts, the supporting cast combined to go 12-for-29 (.413) with three homers, nine runs scored and 14 RBI.

Some of the season totals for the supporting cast are still a bit ugly but they are trending in the right direction. Boston has cracked the top-10 in the majors in runs scored and they are tied for fourth with a .251 average, per FanGraphs.

The production is more impressive when we only look at May. The Red Sox lead the majors with a .277 average, .475 SLG, .355 wOBA and 132 wRC+ this month. They are fourth in runs scored this month despite playing at least one fewer game than the teams ahead of them.

A 16-run explosion will sway any smaller sample size but this win against the White Sox was merely the exclamation point on a growing trend by the supporting cast. Boston had too many bats performing well below expectations early in the season and they are finally benefitting from some positive regression.

The Red Sox have their fair share of star power anchoring the lineup but they need their supporting cast to pitch in. If they can continue getting solid contributions from the “other guys” in the lineup, Boston’s offense can do some serious damage.

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