Ryan Kalish’s All-Around Game Helping to Prove He Belongs With Red Sox

Ryan Kalish's All-Around Game Helping to Prove He Belongs With Red Sox Dustin Pedroia
recently was asked what he thought of Red Sox rookie outfielder Ryan Kalish. His response was quick and simple, yet spoke volumes, especially coming from a former MVP.

"There aren’t many things he can’t do on the field," Pedroia said.

The weekend series in Oakland may have offered up the finest example of Kalish’s all-around game and provided further proof that after the league had made adjustments to the rookie he has adjusted back. In a big way.

Kalish came off the bench to give Boston the lead with a pinch-hit two-run single in the seventh inning as the Sox topped the A’s 5-3 on Sunday. The 22-year-old is batting .321 (9-for-28) with a home run, four doubles and 10 RBIs in his last nine games.

"We talk about him all the time," manager Terry Francona said. "He’s always ready."

Indeed, Kalish has shown an ability to come through when called upon mid-game, going 2-for-3 with a walk as a pinch hitter in his young career. However, his contributions go well beyond all of the impressive numbers, as evidenced by his dynamic play in Oakland.

Although Kalish went 0-for-3 in the series opener he had a home run taken away from him in the first inning. And, in the fourth, he exhibited what may one day be called the best arm in baseball when he nailed speedster Coco Crisp trying to advance from second to third on a fly ball to center field. It was a picture-perfect bullet that had Crisp, who stole six bases in the series, out by more than a step.

The following night Kalish went 2-for-4 with an RBI and made the A’s look silly when he advanced from second to third on a fly to left and on a much shorter throw than the one he made to get Crisp. While few players could’ve nailed Crisp on the play Friday, not many could’ve pulled off what Kalish did on the bases Saturday.

Later in the same game Kalish made a dramatic leaping attempt at a drive by Oakland left fielder Rajai Davis. The effort was in vain as Davis wound up with a go-ahead RBI triple, but the effort was so off the charts, sending the youngster soaring onto the warning track in center field and nearly going head-first into the wall, that it had to turn a few heads.

Each of those plays occurred in losing efforts but offered up proof that Kalish does not need his bat to have an impact.

But the bat has been pretty productive of late, too.

His base hit Sunday off the hard-throwing Henry Rodriguez was a great example of a young hitter coming of age. It was the second straight night he had fought off a pitch to the opposite field to drive in a run.

"You’ve got to treat it like any other at-bat because if you treat it like ‘Oh my God, I gotta get a hit,’ you’re going to let it build upon yourself," Kalish said when asked about coming off the bench to hit. "You just have to calm down and treat it like any other one."

While Kalish insists he treats pinch-hit appearances like any other at-bat, his manager said that young players can often find success in such roles because they do not overthink things. Whatever the mindset, the hit was the decisive one in a win the Red Sox desperately needed to have.

"He got a pitch and he kept it inside the left-field line," Francona said. "Good for us."

It sure was, and it will continue to be as long as Kalish is doing a little of everything, and doing it well.

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