Alex Verdugo extended his season-best hitting streak to 10 games in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 win over the Phillies with a one-out double off Jake Arrieta.
After striking out in his first two at-bats against the Phillies starter, reaching base there must have come as a relief for the Red Sox outfielder, but he did not spend too much time hanging around at second.
That being the case because just a few moments later, Kevin Pillar poked a soft grounder to the right side of the infield that Philly first baseman Rhys Hoskins had a difficult time corralling and wound up floating over Arrieta’s head as the hurler was rushing to cover the bag.
As a result of that mishap, Verdugo came around to score all the way from second with an emphatic slide across the plate to push across his side’s fourth run of the afternoon.
Fast forward to the seventh, and Verdugo was again active on the base paths, when after reaching first on a one-out walk, the 24-year-old almost immediately swiped second base off Phillies reliever Ramon Rosso. He likely would have tried to take third base as well since J.T. Realmuto’s throw landed in shallow center field, but wound up stuck at second after Neil Walker seemingly blocked his path.
In a friendly kind of way, Verdugo did not seem all too pleased with Walker’s actions, but again, he would not be sticking around there long enough for a legitimate, lengthy conversation, for Rafael Devers drove him in on a wall-ball RBI double moments later.
That put the Sox up 5-3 at the time it was hit, and 6-3 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.
After Boston’s first win in well over a week, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke seemed quite pleased with Verdugo’s performance, and even cited what he did earlier Wednesday as a potential reason for that.
“The energy that he brings everyday,” Roenicke said of the young outfielder. “Before the game, he’s running around with energy and I think you need guys like that on your team.”
Verdugo isn’t usually that hyper before games, per Roenicke, but on a day the Red Sox were trying to snap a nine-game losing streak, it certainly was not met with disapproval.
“It’s good to see,” the Sox skipper added. “Where we [were] before that game I think it was needed. I think he decided that was what he was going to do to try to get us going and I like it. Like I said, I like when guys are vocal. Because if not, it seems like it’s always the manager and the coaches that are saying things and it’s a great thing when you have players jumping in.”
Through his first 23 games with the Red Sox, Verdugo is now slashing .284/.356/.531 with five home runs, five doubles, nine RBI, 13 runs scored, and two stolen bases.
On top of that offensive production, the former second-round pick has clearly emerged as one of the loudest, more energetic players on the team. A prime example of that emerged back on August 7, when Verdugo clubbed two homers against the Blue Jays and in the ninth inning, robbed Travis Shaw of a home run by reaching over the bullpen wall in right field.
Upon making that sensational catch, Verdugo belted out a loud, celebratory yell which could be heard throughout Fenway Park and likely on the streets surrounding the ballpark, too.
It all goes to show that this is the type of player Verdugo is. One who brings a wicked amount of energy and gives it his all nearly 100% of the time, whether that be at the plate, on the base paths, or in the outfield.
Also, Verdugo became the first Red Sox outfielder to hit at least one extra-base hit in seven consecutive games since Dwight Evans did so in 1982. A little bit of history for you there.