Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4: Just another example of why J.D. Martinez was signed

Ryan Hannable
May 30, 2018 - 3:59 pm

J.D. Martinez is really good.

After Eduardo Rodriguez allowed two runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at two, in the bottom half of the frame Xander Bogaerts tried a bunt to move Andrew Benintendi up to second base, but ended up by popping up to the catcher. J.D. Martinez was the next hitter and he picked Bogaerts up by demolishing a 2-0 pitch way over the Green Monster (estimated at 434 feet) to put the Red Sox ahead 4-2.

The Red Sox went on to win the game 6-4 to complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park.

(Click here for a complete game recap.)

After finishing 27th in baseball in home runs last year, the Red Sox went into Wednesday ranked second, and Martinez obviously is a major reason why.

The homer was his 18th of the season, which ties him with Mike Trout for the major league lead. After getting off to somewhat of a slow start, Martinez has picked it up of late. He now has 13 homers in his last 26 games, including nine in his last 16. Additionally, in 119 games since the All-Star break last year he leads the majors with 49 homers and 119 RBI.

"J.D., what he’s doing now, what he’s done this month is pretty awesome," manager Alex Cora said. "I keep going back to what he does before games, preparation looking for certain pitches, tendencies. Working his craft, working his swing. It’s fun to see what he’s doing." 

It was also his 13th home run this month which makes him the first Red Sox player to have 13 homers or more in a month since David Ortiz in July of 2006. The last Sox player to do it in May was Jim Rice in 1978.

It was only a matter of time before he got going, especially at Fenway Park.

Among active hitters with at least 100 at-bats at Fenway, the right-handed hitter is ranked first in slugging (.724 going into Wednesday) and OPS (1.143). Martinez also now has reached base in 21 straight home games, the longest streak in the American League this season. 

“It’s good. It’s a cool park," he said. "It’s definitely fun hitting in front of the fans and stuff like that. So it’s been great.”

While a good offense does more than just rely on the home run, it's important to at least have that threat and last year the Red Sox simply didn't. The sixth inning was the perfect example as instead of Bogaerts' missed bunt attempt completely derailing things, Martinez was able to erase the miscue with one swing of the bat.

Although it took all offseason and into spring training to finally sign him, Martinez is proving well worth it.

The Red Sox are now 10-1 in games Eduardo Rodriguez starts, which makes him one of two AL pitchers with at least 10 team wins in their starts this year (Luis Severino also has 10).

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