When the Red Sox played their final series against the Blue Jays last season at Toronto, former manager Alex Cora and retired slugger Carlos Delgado had lunch with Christian Vazquez. The catcher had started to lose his way at the plate. He had hit his 19th homer Aug. 27, but he was stuck.
“Last year, I was trying to get to 20,” Vazquez said Tuesday.
As a result of chasing homers, Vazquez’s average dipped from .283 to .268 which prompted Cora and Delgado to have the sitdown with Vazquez. His homerless drought would end at 13 games with a pair at Philadelphia, and he would finish the season with 23.
This year, Vazquez had a 34-game homerless dry spell until Sunday at Tampa. It was much of the same. He lost his way chasing the homer.
“When you try, you don’t get it,” Vazquez explained. “You need to go to home plate and have a plan. Try to hit the ball hard no matter what.”
Still, seeing one go over the fence was somewhat of a relief.
“It was a while,” Vazquez said with a laugh. “I was struggling a little bit. When I try to hit homers, my swing gets too big. If the homers come, I’ll take it.”
Vazquez went 1 for 3 with a walk in the Sox' 2-0 win Tuesday, singling home the insurance run in the eighth to raise his average to .272 and OPS to .739. In a shortened season, it’s tough to get a gauge on success. If you consider how quick the players had to ramp up for the season and the small sample size they’ll finish with, Vazquez has had a solid year.
“We’re getting the average back where it should be,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think he’s a really good hitter. But in this short season, you look at it differently. I know he went a stretch without hitting a home run but I’m too concerned about that. I think always in a six-month season you’re going to go through stretches.”
Staff hit by injuries
In a span of five days, seven pitchers have hit the injured list. “I really don’t know the answer to that,” Roenicke said. “Although I do know from the beginning we try to make it a point with the usage of these guys. Having the roster where you don’t have true starting pitching, I’m surprised that we’ve had all these come up like they have. "Early, we tried to figure out the right way to do it when were down and had the three months sitting at home.” Roenicke said last week that he feels the shortened summer camp has played into some of the injuries. But on Tuesday, Roenicke acknowledged that, considering where the team is in the standings, the team is being even more cautious with its players . . . Darwinzon Hernandez threw a bullpen session Monday and felt good. It looks as if he will come off the IL soon. Josh Taylor threw Tuesday, but it’s still uncertain if he will pitch again this season. Andrew Triggs was placed on the IL with right radial nerve irritation.