The month of April was very kind to the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox ran roughshod over Major League Baseball during the first full month of the 2018 season, and they closed out April with a convincing 10-6 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night at Fenway Park. The victory in the series opener marked Boston’s 19th win in April, a new franchise record.
But that wasn’t the bit only bit of history Monday night. The Red Sox’s 13-hit explosion in Game 1 against the Royals included a grand slam off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, his second of the sort this season. Boston now has six grand slams in 2018, which tied a big league record for the most before May 1. It certainly would have been tough to imagine the Sox accomplishing this feat after hitting zero grand slams last season.
After the game, Sox manager Alex Cora couldn’t exactly pinpoint the key to his team’s recent knack for grand slams, but he believes it could be credited to the work done in the spring.
“I don’t know. Good pitches to hit and driving it, I guess,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “It just happens. I didn’t even know they didn’t hit grand slams last year, and it was a good lineup — guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. It’s just one of those that they’re getting pitches up in the zone. When I talk about those drills (Red Sox hitting coach) Timmy (Hyers) had in spring training, situational hitting. There were a few that were like: ‘Hit the ball in the air. Hit the ball in the air.’ Avoid the ground balls. I guess they’re trying to get under it and hit it in the air.”
And with warmer weather coming, the Red Sox’s efforts to lift the ball should continue to pay off and then some.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Royals:
— Hector Velazquez turned in a terrific performance. After Eduardo Rodriguez labored through four innings in which he allowed five runs on five hits, Velazquez provided a lift with two scoreless innings to earn the win. The right-hander has been valuable both as a starter and reliever this season, and his efforts aren’t being lost on his teammates.
“Every time he comes in he’s put up scoreless innings,” Bogaerts said. “He was effective out of the starting rotation and now that we’ve got some of our guys back healthy, he’s been outstanding in the bullpen also.”
— Mitch Moreland snapped an 0-for-13 skid in a major way. The first baseman went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and a double.
— Bogaerts became the fifth Red Sox player in the past 10 campaigns to hit multiple grand slams in a season. He now has three in his career, all of which have come with two strikes.
— Boston improved to 13-3 this season in games it hits a home run. Furthermore, the Sox are 9-1 in games they hit multiple round-trippers.
— The Red Sox are just the second team since 1913 to win 21 games before May.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports