fb-pixelEric Hosmer returns to lineup at the AL park where he hits the best - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
Red Sox Notebook

Eric Hosmer returns to lineup at the AL park where he hits the best

Eric Hosmer delivers an RBI base hit in the sixth inning of Thursday's win.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

Eric Hosmer was back in the lineup after suffering a left knee contusion in his first game as a Red Sox at Fenway Tuesday evening, a plus for the Red Sox.

The Sox newly-acquired first baseman has a knack for hitting well at Fenway with a career .347 batting average at Fenway before Thursday, his highest mark at any American League stadium.

Hosmer said his numbers, which included a .396 on-base percentage, .475 slugging, and .872 OPS, aren’t all that random.

He played a huge role in Thursday’s win against the Orioles with his go-ahead RBI double in the sixth that ultimately defined the Sox’ 4-3 win.


“This park gives you the incentive to stay in the middle and stay the opposite way,” he said before the game. “And I think, you know, most hitters are at their best when they’re trying to do that. So I think that’s a big part of it.”

The ability of a hitter to effectively stay the other way reduces the likelihood of rollover ground balls, something that has haunted Hosmer for much of his career, posting a 55 percent ground ball rate.

Hosmer's RBI double in the sixth was the difference for the Red Sox in Thursday's victory.Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

Manager Alex Cora said that Hosmer saw an uptick in his fly ball rate over the course of his last couple of weeks as a Padre, but said that seeing the Green Monster at Fenway could only benefit his first baseman.

“I think that’s an offensive player, you can backtrack the ball and just go that way,” Cora said. “You know, he’s a strong kid, and he’s able to hit it the other way and I do believe he’s going to benefit from that.”

Hosmer finished 2 for 3. Fenway continues to be good to him.

Bogaerts makes history

Xander Bogaerts finished 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI Thursday. His double in the first inning was the 300th of his career. He is just the 11th player to hit 300 doubles with the Red Sox but just the second Sox player to do so before turning 30, joining Carl Yastrzemski. He is the 25th player in baseball history to hit 150 homers and 300 doubles, but just the second shortstop to do so before turning 30. The other? Alex Rodriguez.


Bogaerts, seen here scoring a first-inning run Thursday, has joined an impressive list.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

“It’s a great list,” Bogaerts said. “It’s something to be proud of. I work hard. I listen a lot. I’m always willing to learn and obviously have a great family that supports me.”

Tommy Pham impresses Alex Cora

Tommy Pham’s homer against the Braves Wednesday marked his third homer in three consecutive games. For Pham, that would be the first time he’s done that in his career. But when asked how he felt at the plate following the Sox’ 8-4 loss to Atlanta, Pham didn’t lean much on positivity.

“I’m definitely squaring up the ball a little more consistently. But I’m striking out too much,” said Pham, who had seven strikeouts in 39 plate appearances as a member of the Red Sox entering Thursday. “I’m not getting on base as much as I need to, especially with guys like [Rafael] Devers and [Xander] Bogaerts behind me.”

Cora, who is a proponent of putting the ball in play, enjoyed seeing that perspective from Pham. “It was music to my ears,” Cora said. “That’s great. He wants to make content. He understands who’s behind him. He wants to put together quality at-bats and grind out at-bats. He doesn’t go to the edges that often.”


Similar to Kyle Schwarber, the Sox were intrigued with Pham’s ability to extend at-bats. Pham had a 26.1 chase rate prior to Thursday which ran congruent with his strikeout rate (26.1), but last year, for instance, Pham’s chase rate was just 19.3 percent.

Additionally, when he hits the ball, it’s with authority.

“He hits good pitching, too,” Cora said. Four seamers. “I think in this division we know how it works. That fastball plays with a lot of teams, and I’m glad that he’s here with us.”

On Thursday, Pham was 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI double.

Kiké Hernández sits out rehab game

Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) did not play for Double A Portland Thursday after his first rehab game the night prior. Hernández will be back in the Portland lineup Friday and will once again get five innings in center field and two at-bats … There’s a strong chance Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation) will rejoin the team this weekend against the Yankees and start Sunday … Brayan Bello (left groin strain) will likely make a rehab start for Portland this weekend. Bello is eligible to return from the 15-day injured list next Friday … Los Angeles Clippers forward/guard Terrance Mann threw out Thursday’s ceremonial first pitch. The Lowell native attended the Tilton School in Tilton, N.H., for high school. Mann just completed his third year in the NBA, averaging 10.8 points per contest to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 28.6 minutes played last season.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him @byJulianMack.