Will Middlebrooks jogging around the bases after his three-run homer in the top of the first inning. The rookie finished with two bombs and five RBIs in the Sox victory.
The Boston Red Sox currently have one of the worst records at their home ballpark, struggling in all phases of the game inside the friendly confines of Fenway Park. On the road, however, they play tremendous baseball and always get solid offensive production throughout the lineup. If this were any other year, you would call me a fool for making such a statement about our Sox. For 2012, however, such ludacrisy rings true. The Sox currently have a 4-10 record at friendly Fenway while on the road they have an 8-6 mark, one which improved by another win after last night’s 11-5 victory.
It was rookie Will Middlebrooks who led the Sox last night, ripping two laser show-esque homers and driving in five runs in the process. Middlebrooks’ first bomb, a three-run homer in the top of the first inning, bent just inside the foul pole in right field. His double in his very next at-bat was another liner, this one scorched to center off the wall on a hop. And his second blast, a vital two-run home run in the eighth, clanged off the left-field foul pole for insurance.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen a guy hit both foul poles and then almost take the center-field fence down with a line drive,” manager Bobby Valentine said of the rookie’s hitting performance. “Those were three impressive swings. He’s been a very impressive player so far. We didn’t even get to talk about the home run yesterday. That was one of the furthest ones we’ve seen at Fenway. Pretty impressive.”
Valentine is referring to Middlebrooks’ first career home run, a grand slam to left field on a hanging breaking ball. The Sox manager isn’t the only one impressed by Will, the third baseman garnering attention from players throughout the clubhouse.
“He’s a gangster,” designated hitter David Ortiz, who also went deep yesterday, said of his teammate. “Pole to pole. He’s got pop, man.” Big Papi is absolutely right. Middlebrooks has quite the powerful swing, showing that last night with his two homers and one double. For those who are big-time Dustin Pedroia fans (he also hit a home run last night, a two-run, opposite-field laser), I didn’t mean to use the phrase “laser show” to describe Middlebrooks’ home runs, but, honestly, there really are no other words to describe the hits he collected last night.
Middlebrooks’ performance helped spark what lately has been an anemic Sox offense. Last night, 11 runs to the tune of 16 hits was what they put together, giving left-handed starter Felix Doubront plenty of support early and often. In fact, before Doubront even took the mound his team was already up 4-0. The win helped the Sox forget about an abysmal sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, capped off by a heart-wrenching, 17-inning loss on Sunday with a position player holding them scoreless for two innings to get the win. It also helped erase a five-game losing streak, one which had closely followed a six-game winning streak.
Maybe this will be the start of another streak, especially considering Middlebrooks’ success in the lineup since he’s gotten the call-up to the big leagues. In his first four games in the majors, Middlebrooks is hitting .381 with three doubles, three homers, and nine RBIs. If those numbers are any indication of the player this guy is to become, we have a lot to look forward to Sox fans.