HOUSTON – The hits continue to add up for Enrique Hernández and manager Álex Cora aims to make the most of it after the Boston Red Sox’s 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Hernández singled and homered in Game 2 of the Championship Series to reach five in the current postseason, and equaled Todd Walker (2003) and David Ortiz, who did so twice (2004 and 2013) for the all-time lead. .
The Puerto Rican center fielder from Boston reached nine extra bases to tie with Ortiz himself (2004 and 2007), Mike Lowell (2007) and Kevin Youkilis (2007) for the most Boston in the same playoffs.
“I’m having so much fun. It’s wonderful, ”Hernández said. “It’s October and these games are usually a lot of fun. Lots of adrenaline, lots of electricity in the crowd. These games are a lot of fun and the fact that I’m playing well adds to that a bit. “
This Saturday, Hernandez was moved from first to second in the batting order with Kyle Schwarber before him after he hit four hits, including two solo home runs, in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series to raise his average in the current postseason at .500, before starting Game 2.
In his previous four playoff games, Hernandez had 13 hits, including eight extra bases, with eight RBIs.
Cora also swapped positions in the order between Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts; in which Devers was third in the lineup and Bogaerts fourth.
Álex Verdugo went to fifth place instead of seventh and JD Martínez behind him as sixth. From Friday’s lineup, catcher Christian Vazquez for Kevin Plawecki left for Saturday and second baseman Christian Arroyo hit last in order against the Astros on Saturday.
“We’ve been putting this lineup out of necessity,” Cora said. “JD got hurt on the last day of the season, so against the New York Yankees we had to figure out how to protect Rafi (Rafael Devers) and the only way was to put Kyle first; Kike second and Rafi third. And Xander behind him and Alex fifth “…
McCULLERS STILL ASPIRES TO WORLD SERIES
Lance McCullers Jr. still hopes to return to his Astros this very postseason, if they advance to the World Series, despite sustaining a right forearm injury that knocked him out of the American League Championship Series.
He felt that perhaps pitching with less rest in his most recent start was one of the factors causing his injury.
“I think from the beginning I did not feel 100 percent,” he acknowledged. “But I felt good enough to open. He had good speed, all good. But in the fourth, when I was facing (Gavin) Sheets when I started to feel discomfort because I had the ball caught to launch a curve and we ended up with a slider. There I felt the pull on my forearm ”.
The starting pitcher said he has felt better the past two days, thanks to the break, and that they will assess his improvement over the next week.
“It’s been a very tough couple of days, but I know I can help this team in so many ways more than just pitching,” he said Saturday. “I can help guys with reports from opposing hitters, watching the game and trying to advise. I want to be there with them ”.
BOSTON MAKES HISTORY OF GRAND SLAMS
The Red Sox became the first team to land two grand slams in the same postseason game, taking it out with a full house in the first and second innings of the second series game against the Astros.
Martinez hit first to put the Red Sox 4-0 against starter Luis Garcia, who also received Rafael Devers just one inning later.
Garcia couldn’t get an out in the first inning and came out with just one working inning, in which he only got two hits, the two grand slams, and five earned runs; he walked away three and struck out two for a 45.00 ERA in the current postseason.