“How on Earth will the Boston Red Sox match the New York Yankees’ one-two punch of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton?”
That question often was asked prior to the start of the regular season. And it still might be a fair question, as Judge and Stanton really are a once-in-a-lifetime pairing.
But with their efforts in the Red Sox’s 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, J.D. Martinez and Hanley Ramirez are proving to be a worthy counter to the Bronx-bombing power duo.
Ramirez, who returned to the lineup after missing a game with a bruised wrist, cranked a two-run homer off O’s starer Alex Cobb in the first inning. Martinez followed suit in the third with a solo dinger into the right field bullpen. The Sox’s 3-4 hitters combined to go 5-for-10 with five RBIs on the afternoon.
Martinez’s recent surge — eight hits (including two homers) and 10 RBIs over his last five games — has raised his season batting average to .283 to go along with three home runs and 13 RBIs. Ramirez, meanwhile, has been hot all season, currently sporting a .362 average with three homers and 15 RBIs. Furthermore, Ramirez and Martinez rank first and second, respectively, among American League hitters in RBIs.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora understandably is pleased with the production he’s getting from the middle of the order.
“We got some guys that can drive the ball all over the place,” Cora said after the game. “You saw (Martinez’s opposite field homer), that was impressive. We got a lot of sluggers in our lineup.
” … When (Ramirez) is locked in, when he’s healthy, he’s very dangerous. With all the traffic that (Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi) are gonna create, he’s gonna have good at-bats — he’s gonna get pitches to hit. Sometimes we get caught up in the protection part of it, but obviously, when J.D. is swinging the bat, (the three spot) is a good spot.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— With the win Saturday, Boston improved to 12-2 for the first time in franchise history.
“They’ve been playing good baseball for a while,” Cora said. “Playing clean and fast, and pitching. It seems like early in the season we were playing clean and pitching, and not so fast around the bases.
“Right now, it’s been good baseball for a while. We’re proud of what they’re doing right now.”
— Betts left the game after an injury sustained during an ugly home-plate collision in the first inning. The Red Sox later revealed that Betts only suffered a bruised left foot on the play.
“He’s OK,” Cora said. “The X-rays were negative — contusion in the foot. Day-to day, most likely will stay away from him tomorrow.”
— Blake Swihart filled Betts’ spot at the top of the order and slid into left field. The switch-hitting catcher responded with two hits and three RBIs. Playing time has been difficult to come by for Swihart, but Cora was happy to get him into the game.
“Blake was able to play — that’s the one I’m struggling with. It’s tough to get him at-bats,” Cora said. “That’s the way baseball works. He was able to get a few at-bats, and play left field. He did a good job.”
— Red Sox reliever Marcus Walden pitched the final three innings to pick up his first career save.
— Here’s a good indicator of just how dialed in Boston’s hitters are:
Still not convinced? Here’s more:
— Cora said lefty Drew Pomeranz, who recently made a rehab start for Double-A Portland, will make his next start with the Red Sox. The start will come during the upcoming road trip, either at the end of the team’s series with the Los Angeles Angels or to open its series with the Oakland Athletics.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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