Trevor Story didn’t have the start with the Red Sox he wanted, and his early-season struggles certainly were emblematic of Boston’s slow start.
However, the newly signed second baseman is finally starting to see results after grinding away behind the scenes. The hard work paid off in the biggest way Thursday night with a career game for Story, who hit three home runs and drove in seven runs in Boston’s series-opening win over the Seattle Mariners.
The Red Sox are just about at the quarter pole in their season. Obviously, Story hitting three home runs goes a long way in improving his overall stat line, but he wasn’t going to struggle for the entire season. In fact, the Thursday night performance has gone a long way in getting Story back on something resembling a typical career pace.
Through 38 team games, Story now has five home runs. That puts him on a rough pace to hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 dingers. Additionally, he’s now on a 100-RBI pace and should be in line to hit between 30 and 40 doubles.
Put another way: Story’s bottom-line numbers this season projected over a 162-game pace put him in line to hit 25 home runs and drive in 113 runs to go along with 39 doubles.
Entering this season, here’s his career 162-game average in those categories:
34 home runs
It’s not surprising to see the power lagging behind; Story didn’t hit his first home run in a Red Sox uniform until his 26th game of the season. Thursday night’s performance should go a long way in getting him back on pace, though.
What might be most encouraging is how Story has bounced back from the low point of his very young Sox career. He was booed off the field after striking out four times vs. Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels on May 5, the start of a 1-for-16 skid with 10 K’s. Since then, Story has 11 hits in nine games with all five of his home runs and 13 RBIs. His OPS has increased by nearly 200 points.
Unsurprisingly, that hot streak has coincided with improved play for Boston. The Sox are 6-3 in that small nine-game span since Story seemingly figured out his swing.
It’s hard to believe considering it’s not even Memorial Day, but the Red Sox are 12 games back in the American League East. While the New York Yankees look poised to run away with the division, the season is far from over for a team like Boston with the expanded playoff field.
If Story can continue to pace the offense and get the Sox back to the level of output we’re accustomed to seeing, this might not be a lost summer in the Hub after all.