Red Sox

Locked-in J.D. Martinez sparks Red Sox' power surge vs. O's

Red Sox

When it rains, it pours, and the Boston Red Sox unleashed a thunderstorm on the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The Red Sox clobbered six home runs at Camden Yards -- including three from J.D. Martinez and two from Rafael Devers -- en route to a 14-9 win, which completed a series sweep and gave them six straight victories.

Boston has come a long way since getting shut out by Baltimore on Opening Day. How far, you ask?

Highlights: Homer-happy Red Sox complete sweep of O's

Here are three observations from the Red Sox' latest win.

Locked-in J.D. Martinez does wonders for top of order

Martinez has been a man on fire out of the gate, putting a disappointing 2020 behind him with 16 hits, five home runs and 16 RBIs in his first eight games. To state the obvious, that's good news for the Red Sox -- in more ways than one.

New year, new J.D.

RBIs for Martinez in 2020 (54 games)
27
RBIs for Martinez in 2021 (eight games)
16

While Martinez led Boston with three hits in the No. 3 hole, the other four batters atop the lineup -- Kike Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts and Devers -- all tallied multiple hits. Martinez and Devers alone accounted for nine of the Red Sox' 13 RBIs, while the top five hitters drove in all of the team's runs.

Martinez looming in the No. 3 spot should mean more pitches to hit for Hernandez and Verdugo, as pitchers can't afford to walk either player ahead of Martinez.

The two former Dodgers have gotten off to slow starts at the plate in 2021, but if Martinez keeps raking, his hot bat could rub off on Boston's table-setters.

 

Red Sox starters have a tipping point in 2021

Nick Pivetta cruised through his first five innings at Camden Yards but faltered in the sixth, allowing a triple, a walk and a three-run home run to finish the day with four runs allowed in 6.0 innings.

If the Red Sox didn't have a healthy lead, Alex Cora might have pulled Pivetta after the fifth, which has been the limit for nearly every starter this season.

Tomase: Vision of Red Sox as a legit team coming into focus

Nathan Eovaldi (seven innings against the Rays on April 7) is the only Boston starter to pitch into the seventh frame, while every other starter outside Eovaldi and Pivetta hasn't made it past the fifth inning.

That's the nature of today's game, and Cora doesn't want to tax his rotation this early in the season. But Boston could use a little more length out of its starters.

The Red Sox' real test begins Monday

So, it turns out the Orioles aren't that good. After laying an egg against Baltimore at Fenway Park, the Red Sox restored order by cleaning up against what should be one of MLB's worst teams this season.

Boston will have its hands full starting Monday in Minnesota, however. The Twins lead the American League Central at 6-3 and boast baseball's hottest hitter not named J.D. Martinez in center fielder Byron Buxton.

All five of their starters boast ERAs under 3.00, as well, which should put the Red Sox' hot bats to the test. If you're eager to see how Alex Cora's club plays against stiffer competition, you're about to get your wish.