No Shane, No Gain: Victorino named AL Player of the Week
photo Matt Stone/Boston Herald
The Flyin’ Hawaiian is surely soaring a little higher today after being named the American League Player of the Week by Major League Baseball.
In seven games last week, Shane Victorino hit at a .400 clip with three doubles, a pair of homers, drove in six and scored seven times while helping the Sox to a 5-2 record against Tampa Bay, Seattle and Arizona.
This season, Victorino is batting .290 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and 14 stolen bases. He’s walked 18 times while only striking out 38.
In Sunday’s 4-0 series win against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, Victorino more than lived up to his nickname, crashing into the right-field wall while stretching for a foul ball in the third inning.
It’s not the first time this season Victorino has put his body on the line and flung himself like a crash-test dummy at the Fenway ramparts.
“If I get a chance to make an out, sometimes I get carried away,” said Victorino. “It was a little dangerous there, but you know, again, I felt like I could make a play. It hit my glove. As they always say, the golden rule is, if it hits your glove, you should catch it. So I was upset with myself for not catching it, but sometimes there’s some risk involved.”
After colliding with the barrier, the switch-hitting outfielder did an about-face at the plate from then on and batted right, despite facing right-handed pitching — something he had only done three times in 216 at-bats against righties.
It clicked. Victorino went 2 for 2 with an RBI and was hit by a pitch twice after switching sides.
“From the right side of the plate, he’s moved closer,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s felt better with it. About a week ago, he felt like he was running out of bat, like the swing was in and out of the strike zone at times. He feels locked in on the right side.”
“He’s fearless,” said Farrell. “He slams into the wall trying to run down a fly ball that goes foul. I think we’ve come to know over the course of this year he’s got an extremely high pain threshold.”
That being said, Victorino has seen some time on the disabled list with nagging hamstring issues this season, playing in 79 of Boston’s 113 games to date.
Victorino, who signed a three-year, $39-million contract with Boston in the offseason, recently told ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan that the 2013 Sox remind him of his time playing in Philadelphia, where he helped the Phillies to two consecutive World Series appearances, winning one against Tampa Bay in 2008 and losing one to the New York Yankees in ’09.
“This group has a chance to be special,” said Victorino, 32. “They remind me of our great Phillies teams. We grind it out, 27 outs. We’re going to get right in your face. We might lost, but we’re coming for you, even when we’re down nine runs.”
Victorino played a critical role in last Thursday’s dramatic, come-from-behind win over the Seattle Martiners at Fenway. With the Sox down six runs, Victorino homered in the eighth inning to make the score 7-2, and then in the ninth ripped a single to score two runs, making it 7-5 and setting the stage for Jonny Gomes to tie it up, and Daniel Nava to eventually win it.