Boston Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe has put together an incredible two months both at the plate and in the grass, and manager Alex Cora believes it’s about time people start recognizing him for it.
“He’s on balance. He’s making good swing decisions. He got a change up up in the zone and hit it out of the ballpark, a hanging breaking ball. He’s been doing this for a while,” Cora said during a postgame video conference. “Just looking at his numbers the average, the RBIs, the home runs, the on-base percentage. The last two months he’s been playing All-Star caliber baseball and we know what he can do defensively.
“It’s time, I know you guys asked me about him earlier today, but the way he’s playing people need to start recognizing him as one of our best players. He’s been huge for us. We always talk about the four guys, but what he’s doing has been amazing the last two months.”
Renfroe added: “I feel good. I like where I am right now. … I’m seeing the ball as good as I have in a long time.”
Renfroe went 2-for-4 at the plate Monday with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Royals:
— Garrett Richards got crushed early as he gave up five runs on three home runs during the first two innings. Richards, though, turned it around with a notable in-game bounce back.
Richards pitched into the sixth inning before he was pulled after allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three while throwing 67 of his 94 pitches for strikes. And while Richards’ stat line tells a majority of the story, it’s worth noting the Red Sox didn’t have to use bullpen arms early as he didn’t allow a run in the final 3 2/3 innings.
“It didn’t look good the first few innings, but there’s something about this level, or any level — little league, college, minor leagues, big leagues — you have to compete with what you have. It doesn’t matter,” Cora said. “… He kept competing and he actually gave us a chance to win. Obviously the offense picked him but the fact he went 5 2/3, it didn’t look great in the beginning, but he didn’t quit. He kept going and put zeros at the end to give us a chance.”
Cora never thought about taking Richards out early as the Red Sox needed him to go at least four innings. Richards noted how he was throwing pitches that he learned four days ago.
“I think the last three innings were a positive and we’ll take that,” Cora said.
— Josh Taylor recorded a hitless eighth inning. Incredibly, Taylor has not given up a run since April 24 as Monday marked a 23rd straight scoreless outing.
“We’re in a good spot with the bullpen,” Cora said.
— Kiké Hernández recorded his second leadoff home run in as many games during the first inning Monday. The Red Sox utility man hit one off Yankees starter Gerrit Cole during Sunday’s win over New York, as well.
“That’s what we envisioned,” Cora said. “It’s instant offense. We know he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. … We know he can do damage in that spot.”
— The Royals held an early 5-1 advantage after the top of the second inning. Boston’s rally marked its 26th of the season, which is the most in the league, as reported on the NESN broadcast.