BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox offense was supposed to carry the team during the shortened 2020 season, but in the early goings of the 60-game campaign, Boston’s usually reliable sluggers aren’t doing much slugging. Instead, Boston’s power is coming from an unlikely source.
Catcher Christian Vazquez once again provided all the pop for the Red Sox offense Thursday night against the Mets, mashing a pair of homers and driving in three runs in Boston’s 4-2 victory. Vazquez has carried the Boston offense over the first week of the season, slashing .421/.450/1.105 with a team-leading four homers. Three of those dingers have come over the past two nights, giving Vazquez eight RBIs on the young season — also a team-high.
Known more for his defense behind the plate, Vazquez surprised just about everyone in 2019 when he launched 23 homers, drove in 73 runs and finished the year with a respectable .273 batting average. It was the product of working with a new hitting coach over the offseason, and as Vazquez explained Thursday night, his motivation to become a better hitter was pretty simple.
“I was tired of hitting ninth,” joked Vazquez, who hit out of the No. 5 spot on Thursday night. “I wanted to be a different player. I wanted to feel like I’m helping the team both ways — hitting and catching. I’m trying to do my best.”
His best is certainly pretty good, with Vazquez hitting the ball better than the likes of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. That trio has just one homer between them and eight RBIs, total. Vazquez doesn’t mind being Boston’s source of run production at the moment, confident that the other big bats in the lineup will wake up soon.
“I know they’re going to come back and be great hitters,” he said, “but we need to win. We need to do whatever we need to do to win, and we’re playing better now.”