The Boston Red Sox had their backs against the wall in the third game of the series in the Bronx. The New York Yankees had taken the first two games and thanks to a collapse by the bullpen in the 7th inning, the game was back to even at 4 entering the 8th inning. In to the box stepped the red-hot bat of J.D. Martinez who quickly unloaded a 97 mph fastball from Dellin Betances into the first row of the right field seats over the glove of the out-stretched Aaron Judge. Boston had the 5-4 lead and that was all she wrote after Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel locked things down for the Sox on the hill in the final two innings.
“I hit it, and I was like blowing, praying, doing everything I can to push it over. I knew it had a chance,” Martinez said in his post-game interview. The surging J.D. Martinez proved to be a much needed addition to the Boston lineup, as you heard me sing the praises of all off-season long. Martinez is currently riding an eleven-game hitting streak where during that span he has a slash line of .444/.490/.778 to go with a 1.268 OPS with 4 homers, 9 RBI’s and 3 doubles. Martinez is locked in at the plate and he’s been carrying the Boston order for the better part of the last two weeks through their mini-slump.
For the season, Martinez has an outstanding .348/.395/.623 slash line to go with 9 homers, 29 runs batted in and a 1.018 OPS. The Boston cleanup hitter has been clutch and when his number is called to play a corner outfield spot, he has given Manager Alex Cora no reason to not play him in the field giving Boston ultimate lineup flexibility. He has proven to be a fantastic addition for Dave Dombrowski and with the likes of Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez producing, Martinez will play more on the corner outfield spots allowing Ramirez to slide into the DH role more regularly as well and put the often-struggling at the plate Jackie Bradley Jr. on the bench.
The 26-11 Red Sox head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays with Chris Sale on the mound tied for the division lead atop the AL East before they head back to Fenway next week to take on the A’s.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank