The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a hot streak, and J.D. Martinez has been a huge part in the team’s four-game win streak.
Martinez went 1-for-5 in Saturday’s 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon. His lone hit certainly count, however, smacking a solo shot to right-center field to give Boston a little insurance before it put up three runs in the ninth to break the game open.
The slugger has three round-trippers in his last two games against the O’s and has shown offensive improvement of late. So, what’s been the secret to his recent success?
“He had a rough one, towards the end against Texas,” manager Alex Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “… It all comes down the strike zone. He doesn’t chase too many pitches. … He’s staying within the zone, start driving the ball to right center, which is very important for him. Obviously, the weather helps, too.
Martinez recently missed four games against the Tampa Bay Rays due to a back issue. Boston won just one contest, but Cora said as much as his team missed him in the lineup in that series, it was worth giving him the rest due to how he’s performing now.
“For how much we missed him during that weekend in Tampa, you have to be smart,” Cora said. “You can’t push your guys if they don’t feel right. We made the right decision. Obviously, we wanted him to play obviously because of what he brings on a nightly basis to our lineup. But it was a smart thing to do and now we see the benefits.”
Boston will go for the sweep of Baltimore on Sunday, so we’ll see if Martinez can make it three straight games against the O’s with a dinger.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:
— Chris Sale picked up his third win of the season. The southpaw has had tremendous success at Camden Yards throughout the course of his career, toting a 1.85 ERA heading into Saturday’s contest.
“This is where I made my major league debut, and it was terrible,” Sale said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.” So, I always told myself after that I’d try to clean it up here.”
— The Red Sox have scored 20 runs in their past two games against the Orioles, but Cora knows there’s still room for improvement.”
“We’re still getting better, (but) we have our own holes,” he said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I think this is the first time we’re four games over .500 all season We’ve been talking about five over for a while, it’s been like a month, a month and a half, so we got a shot now.”
He finished with 10 strikeouts while giving up two earned runs on six hits over six innings of work.
— Michael Chavis made an incredible defensive play to make the out at first.
— Cora confirmed Brian Johnson will start Sunday. The left-hander has been on the injured list since early April with elbow inflammation.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images