Red Sox quick hits: Four happy returns and Christian Vazquez

Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers In the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

The Red Sox finished off the sweep today of the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2, evening their record to 3-3.

Here is a quick wrapup of the weekend series:

1. E-Rod returns

The Red Sox pitching, even during the early slump (the first three games), has been just short of very good. And guess what? They’re doing this without their best arm, Eduardo Rodriguez, who starts Thursday night in Baltimore. This is a good, early sign that the Red Sox can figure this 2021 season with a respectable staff of arms. One week is too early to make predictions, but it’s not too early to see that signs are that the Red Sox pitching staff will not be the problem.

2. J.D. returns

J.D. Martinez for Mayor. The record-setting six days, all in which Martinez had an extra-base hit, is enough to tell us something is different in 2021. This is the guy from 2019, or really, 2018, in which he was a true MVP candidate. When Martinez is smashing balls to deep right center, the Red Sox are a better team. Martinez is hitting .440 (11 for 25) with 11 RBI, including Tuesday night’s walk-off double. He makes Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers better. This is a very, very good sign.

3. Eovaldi returns

Nathan Eovaldi looked like this in the opener. The only difference was his efficiency, going seven full innings, en route to his dominating performance – 1 run, 3 hits, 7 strikeouts. In the opener, he barely made it into the sixth inning, which isn’t enough, particularly on this Red Sox team. This performance was something the Red Sox need more of, particularly the “7 innings.” It allows the bullpen a bit of a break going forward. Of course, the biggest concern with Eovaldi is health. Stay tuned.

4. Cora returns

Alex Cora told us to relax after the weekend debacle against the Orioles. He was right. He was old, calm, cool, collected self. It’s early, only a week, but he is making some great decisions in the bullpen, which is probably the most important aspect of manager’s job description. Cora has a way about him, and it is very settling. This is good to see.

5. Vazquez never left

Christian Vazquez might be the unsung Red Sox early MVP. His homer over the Green Monster on Tuesday night was the biggest hit of this early season. Remember, he’s batting sixth, not seventh or eighth. He deserves that spot in the lineup. This guy appears to be a consistent, .275 (ave.), 23 HR, 75 RBI guy, which was about his 2019 and 2020 average.

 

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