J.D. Martinez is offering Red Sox a powerful reminder

Rob Bradford
August 10, 2019 - 1:07 am

In case you forgot what J.D. Martinez was all about ...

This is a guy who since July 20 -- or the last games he has played in -- is hitting .425 with a 1.326 OPS and eight home runs. Not a single game has gone by during the stretch where Martinez has not reached base at least once. Friday night he made sure everyone took notice.

There were two home runs and two doubles, one of which came just a few feet from clearing the fence.

In a game that the Red Sox poured it on the Angels to the tune of a 16-4 win at Fenway Park Martinez was the headliner. (For a complete recap of the Sox' win, click here.)

"He’s not chasing in not that much," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "I think today was the first day he actually hit the ball in the air with authority the other way. You saw the hits yesterday. Those are good signs. We’ve been talking about him grinding. Look at the numbers. If that’s grinding, I don’t know what grinding is. We trust these guys. It’s always good when Mookie (Betts) and J.D. are going like that together, picking up the other guys, it can get fun. He’s in a good place right now."

When it comes to Martinez, this has started to feel like 2018. The opposite-field power. The pitch selection. The presence.

It's not as if the designated hitter/outfielder was having a bad year, it just wasn't at the level that he spoiled Red Sox fans with last year. Perhaps it was because of a balky back, or maybe the approach by opposing pitcher. But for whatever reason, the middle-of-the-order presence was more times than not identified as Xander Bogaerts and not Martinez.

If the Red Sox are going to make any kind of run (they are five out in the Wild Card race) Cora's club is going to need this version of Martinez. Since that second game in the last swing through Baltimore, he has obliged.

"He’s been vocal that it’s been a grind," Cora said. "He cares about his craft, works at it and he’s unstoppable. He plays hard too. Not too many guys will run out a ball like that in his last at-bat. Game was one-sided, he’s got four already, he’s hustling all the way. That was good. Got Mitch (Moreland) an at-bat, Mitch hits a home run. It’s all about that. From the first pitch to the last pitch, give his best and whatever happens, happens."

"I honestly don’t even know my stats," Martinez said. "I’ll put my hand on the Bible and say that. I know how many home runs I have, but that’s about it. But I really don’t. For me personally, I don’t focus on any of that. I focus on what I can control and that’s my preparation. That’s how I show up every day, how I study, how I grind out my swing and that’s my main focus. I don’t know - I always say every time you ask me do I know this or that. I don’t know anyting . I just know the pitcher tonight and what I’ve got to do and then tonight when I get home is look at the other pitcher and find out what he’s going to do to me."

Next up Andrew Heaney. Good luck to him.