Kike Hernandez: Manager Alex Cora is doing everything he can to pep up the top of his command. Hernández was in the lead to start the year, but Cora moved Trevor Story there with Hernández struggling due to Story’s speed and power.
Story was also struggling, but it was assumed that he would get out of this rut. He’s yet to make it, homerless and batting .194/.276/.269 with 35 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances.
Story’s numbers, coming from a star player, put a significant hole in the lineup. But Hernández’s problems are also troubling. And that Cora decided to put him back in the lead on Sunday proves the Sox manager is trying anything at this point.
Hernández cuts .176/.252/.284 with a home run in 115 plate appearances. He got off to a slow start last year, but it was nothing like that.
Hernández is able to cry. He’s a streak hitter, and the hot streaks are part of his value because he can partially carry an attack during that time, taking some of the pressure off star players like Story. From July 1 to August 26, for example, Hernández hit .288/.402/.537 with nine home runs, and he was even better in the playoffs. Maybe he needs to warm up for Hernández to start.
By then, however, it might be too late.
Christian Vazquez: His offensive fights of the last two years are a real headache.
After a breakout in 2019 where Vazquez hit .276 with 23 homers, Vazquez has only had 14 since, and this year has a .217/.269/.300 line.
Alex Verdugo: He’s not quite a role player, and one level below stardom. But Cora calls Verdugo the most complete hitter on the team, and his nose-dive to the flat over the past two weeks or so has played a role in the Sox’s struggles. Since April 22, Verdugo has only been hitting .125/.136/.143, with one extra hit (a double).
Verdugo said last weekend that he felt like he was sliding forward with his hips during his swing.
“I was working uphill,” Verdugo said. “It’s just kind of putting me in a bad starting position that basically makes me catch up all the way. We worked on it, we understood it. Come back to where I feel good and you know I’m almost there.
Bobby Dalbec: .139/.225/.215. This is Dalbec’s oblique line. His only home run came a month ago Tuesday against the Yankees.
Baseball’s chief officer Chaim Bloom said last weekend that top prospect Triston Casas isn’t quite ready yet, but this team needs some kind of spark as it was headed for a series with the Braves.
“Everyone knows it offensively, we counted on the offensive to help us, to carry us,” explained Cora. “We have to improve.”