The Red Sox may not be very good, but they certainly are resilient.
Bouncing back from their second horrible loss of the season — a 17-inning game against the Orioles in which Chris Davis got the victory — the Red Sox lit up Jonathan Sanchez on their way to an 11-5 victory over the Royals on Monday.
Will Middlebrooks was the star. After hitting a grand slam for his first major league homer Sunday, he contributed three-run and two-run blasts tonight. He’s hit .381 with six extra-base hits in four games since taking over for the injured Kevin Youkilis at third base.
Middlebrooks has been something of a controversial prospect in the five years since the Red Sox gave him a big bonus as a fifth-round pick. Scouts were always fond of his power potential, and he produced better numbers at every stop as he climbed the ladder. However, statheads remained skeptical about him because of his poor plate discipline. He had a 114/26 K/BB ratio while hitting .285/.328/.506 last year. This season, he appeared to have made some progress in that area in Triple-A, amassing an 18/7 K/BB ratio while hitting .333/.380/.677 in 93 at-bats.
Middlebrooks has already fanned five times in his four games for Boston, but all of the power has made that very easy to ignore. He certainly looks the part of a guy with 25- or 30-homer ability. Tonight, he went opposite field with the first homer and then pulled the second high up off the foul pole. AL pitchers may find some flaws at some point, but I’m now a much bigger believer than I was a couple of months ago.
Indians outfielder Leonys Martin will be released from the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, according to comments from club president Chris Antonetti. Martin was hospitalized with a life-threatening bacterial infection several weeks ago, one that was said to have affected multiple organs and jeopardized Martin’s quality of life, as well as his career. The length of his recovery process is still undefined, Antonetti added, noting that there’s “no precedent for how to return to playing shape,” though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to work back up to full strength before the season wraps up in September.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Martin, who also battled a left hamstring strain that cost him another four weeks on the disabled list earlier this year. He’s appeared in just six games with the Indians this season, collecting five hits and two home runs over 17 plate appearances. Taking into account his 78-game stint with the Tigers prior to the trade deadline, he slashed a combined .255/.323/.425 with 11 homers and a .747 OPS across 353 PA in 2018.
As the outfielder’s status is still up in the air for the time being, no significant roster changes appear to be in the team’s immediate future. Fellow outfielders Greg Allen and Rajai Davis will continue to split duties in center field during Martin’s absence. The 25-year-old rookie, Allen, has seen the bulk of the starts in center field over the last two weeks and is currently batting .243/.278/.305 with seven extra-base hits and a .583 OPS in his first full season at the major league level.