Aside from sitting at 59-59 entering Thursday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and also sitting four games behind in the American League wild card race, it’s no secret the cards haven’t fallen in favor of the Boston Red Sox — amid a season staggered by significant names making their ways to the injured list as well.
Despite all the hurdles manager Alex Cora and those healthy have battled, one August deadline acquisition has proved the front office right since his addition to the lineup — outfielder Tommy Pham.
Pham, who was acquired by the Red Sox from the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 1, has delivered a crucial contribution, most notably at the plate, just 14 games into his Boston tenure.
The 34-year-old veteran is currently hitting .258 with three home runs, five doubles, and 9 RBIs — collecting 16 hits in 62 at-bats thus far. Not to mention, one pivotal plate appearance against the division-leading New York Yankees, where Pham delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning to kick that series off.
Prior to Pham’s arrival, the Red Sox relied heavily on current Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. While Bradley’s defense can’t be dismissed, the production at the plate during his second stint in Boston, was underwhelming. In 91 games with the Red Sox, Bradley hit .210 with three home runs — same as Pham with Boston — and 23 extra-base hits along with just two stolen bases.
It would appear as though the naysayers who weren’t fully sold on Pham landing with the Red Sox underestimated the impact of the right-hander’s bat. Initially perceived as a platoon option to give Cora more lineup depth and flexibility, Pham has shown a level of consistency to prove his bat to be valuable. Against left-handed pitching this season, Pham is hitting .282 with 29 base hits in 103 at-bats. Bradley, in 53 at-bats against southpaw pitching, is hitting .132 with 11 hits.
In Pham’s last five games, in which the Red Sox have gone 4-1, he’s 7-for-23 (.304 BA) with a double and four runs — a perfectly timed stretch amid a tight wild card race, with Boston fighting for October contention.