With a season plagued by injuries to key players, endless losses, and a lot of negative chatter about a certain newly former catcher, this Red Sox season has been less than stellar. But a walk off win by Brock Holt at Fenway last night, may be some indication that the rookies are hungry, and the times they are a changin'.
For the first time since 1987, the Red Sox started five rookies in their lineup last night against the Chicago White Sox. Christian Vazquez got the call up from Triple-A Pawtucket yesterday when A.J. Pierzynski, aka the most hated player in MLB, was sent packing. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt rounded out the rookie squad.
Each, aside from the slowly slumping Bogaerts, found some way to contribute to the win. Bradley went 0-4 at the plate, but made an unbelievable diving catch in the second inning, which stopped the White Sox from adding to their already 2-0 lead.
Vazquez also went "0 for" but called an excellent game for Rubby De La Rosa, framed pitches in that sweet spot just at the bottom of the strike zone, and even gunned out a runner at second in the fourth inning, after veteran player Mike Napoli made an error.
Mookie Betts turned an infield single into an infield double on some head's up base-running, and opened the door for a three run eighth inning. Then there is Brock Holt.
Since being called up from Pawtucket, 26-year-old Brock Holt has swept Red Sox Nation by storm. He is a versatile utility player who has played nearly every position for the Red Sox, since joining the team, including shortstop, first base, third base, left field, center field, and right field. He is currently batting .311 with 6 stolen bases and 2 home runs. Not only has his defense been valuable for the Sox, but so has his bat. This was evidenced in his walk off single last night, which scored Daniel Nava from second to clinch the 5-4 win.
Manager John Farrell commented, “I think when you get into some roster changes, there’s an unspoken message that is sent — not in a threatening way but indicates that the way we’ve been going isn’t acceptable. And while it was stated before the game that the investment in young players for the better part of this season comes to the forefront a little bit, that doesn’t change the competitive nature in every guy in uniform. I think that played out tonight, clearly.”
There has been some speculation that some of these guys may not be ready for this level of play, and that if they had more "seasoning" and "ripening" in Triple-A they could be the caliber of player they were destined to be. Sure, and if my Aunt had balls, she'd be my Uncle. This 2014 team has not given Red Sox Nation and the Fenway Faithful much to celebrate or look forward to this season. So for now, proud members of Red Sox Nation, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching some upcoming energetic, young talent remind the veteran players what it is like to be hungry for something again.