There was a stretch during the Red Sox’ five-game losing streak last month when they continually failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position. The drought reached an abysmal 0-for-32 before Victor Martinez ended it with an RBI single against Texas on April 20.
The run-scoring hit that preceded the slide was a three-run double by Jeremy Hermida in the eighth inning of a 6-3 win at Minnesota. And, during the drought, Hermida had a two-run homer to provide the only offense in an 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
For a while there, Hermida was just about the only offense the Red Sox could come by. The same could almost be said on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, when the Boston left fielder hit a go-ahead three-run double in the eighth inning (again) to snap a 1-1 tie and lift the Sox past the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
With the hit, which landed just over the outstretched glove of Angels left fielder Juan Rivera, Hermida improved to 4-for-8 (.500) with three doubles and nine RBIs with two outs and runners in scoring position.
While the former Florida Marlins phenom has had some shaky moments in the outfield this season, he has appeared to be one of the most comfortable on the club in clutch situations.
"Those situations are fun," Hermida said. "You live for moments like that to go out there and drive in the winning runs for your team and get a W. It’s enjoyable for me, it’s fun and it’s what you play the game for."
Due to injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, Hermida has found himself in more of those situations than he likely thought he would. But since the club acquired Hermida and Bill Hall, then saw Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek round out a bench filled with veteran bats, manager Terry Francona insisted those guys would find at-bats, or vice versa.
The fact that they have received their at-bats is no surprise to Francona. Neither is the success Hermida has had when presented with the opportunity.
"All the things we talked about with Jeremy in spring training, we didn’t know where the at bats would be, but more often than not, they sort of emerge," Francona said of Hermida, who hit .450 (18-for-40) this spring. "And he’s swinging the bat very well."
Well enough to be tied for third on the team in RBIs, despite starting just 16 of the team’s 27 games.
Although his big hit Tuesday night was nearly caught — and might have been by a left fielder with more speed than Rivera (there are plenty of those out there) — Hermida never knew. He said he had not seen a replay and was too busy chugging around first to see the ball land softly on the warning track some 310 feet from home plate.
Whether it was cheap or not is of no concern.
"As long as it fell in, I don’t care," Hermida said.
Neither do the Red Sox, who have seen a steady source of run production come from their fourth outfielder.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP