‘He’s in a great spot proper now’: Alex Verdugo seems to be getting again on observe after July stoop

Crimson Sox

Verdugo hit a leadoff residence run in a 3rd straight recreation on Saturday.

Alex Verdugo has had many hits to have fun over the previous few weeks. (AP Photograph/Michael Dwyer)

July was a brutal month on the plate for Alex Verdugo.

The Crimson Sox lefty hit simply .151 with a measly .479 OPS to associate with simply two homers and 7 RBIs. The frustrations surrounding Verdugo carried into the primary weekend of August when he was benched for a recreation as a result of he reportedly confirmed as much as Fenway Park late.

Since his benching on Aug. 5, although, Verdugo has turned it round. He recorded his first three-hit recreation since June 14 within the first recreation following his benching.

Verdugo’s three-hit recreation on Aug. 6 was his first of 5 up to now within the month, which is already probably the most three-plus-hit video games he’s had in a month this season. In truth, it’s probably the most three-plus-hit video games he’s had in a month since he joined the Crimson Sox in 2020.

The recent stretch has culminated in the previous few days, with Verdugo changing into the primary Crimson Sox participant to ever hit a leadoff residence run in three consecutive video games.

Two of these video games got here in opposition to the crew that traded him in a deal that’s been broadly considered as one of many largest and most criticized strikes of the twenty first century. As Mookie Betts has garnered nearly all of the headlines in his return to Boston with the Dodgers this weekend, Verdugo has arguably carried out higher, going for 4-for-10 with two homers within the first two video games of the sequence.

Crimson Sox supervisor Alex Cora wished to provide Verdugo his due on Saturday.

“He’s in a great spot proper now,” Cora instructed reporters. “He’s up for this sequence. For every part we’ve been speaking concerning the different guys, he’s a part of the entire commerce and the historical past of Dodgers-Crimson Sox. He’s enthusiastic about it.

“I’m glad that he’s taking part in nicely. However he’s been setting the tempo from the get-go the final three days.”

Following Saturday’s recreation, Verdugo has gone 25-for-73 (.343) since his Aug. 5 benching, posting a .948 OPS with 4 homers and 10 RBIs in 19 video games. He’s additionally elevated the variety of homers he’s hit within the leadoff spot this season by 50 p.c within the final three video games, hitting 9 homers this yr when he’s been the Crimson Sox’ leadoff hitter.

Saturday’s leadoff homer got here off Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, which stunned Verdugo as a result of he didn’t suppose he’d be hitting leadoff. Previous to Saturday, he’d but to hit a homer in opposition to a lefty this season, as he had a .230 batting common with a .621 OPS in opposition to southpaws in 2023.

“As soon as I noticed that I used to be main off, man, it simply fires me up,” Verdugo instructed reporters. “I nonetheless really feel like I can hit lefties and righties and have good at-bats in opposition to them. The result won’t at all times be there [but] the method of it, working pitchers, I really feel like I do a great job.”

Verdugo took delight in carrying out the feat of changing into the primary participant in Crimson Sox historical past to hit a house run in three consecutive video games after Saturday’s win, however he additionally stated he’s not making an attempt to do an excessive amount of on the plate.

“It’s cool, particularly for me — I’m not a house run hitter, so to see that and know that’s fairly cool,” Verdugo stated of the brand new mark. “However on the finish, it’s not like I’m overthinking it or something like that, it’s only a good little stretch proper there within the leadoff spot, so we have to carry on having good at-bats and hold squaring up the ball.”

As Verdugo has put a pounding on the ball over the previous few video games, a few of his superior numbers following his Aug. 5 benching are in step with his regular-season averages. He’s posted a hard-hit share (variety of balls hit in play which have an exit velocity of no less than 95 mph) of 38 p.c, which is the same as his season common. His strikeout charge is similar (15 p.c), whereas his stroll charge is definitely decrease (4 p.c) than it’s for the season (eight p.c).

Verdugo can also be hitting a bit higher than anticipated, although. His anticipated batting common throughout this stretch is .313, which is 0.029 factors decrease than his actual batting common since Aug. 5. He’s additionally posted a 16-degree common launch angle on this present run, which is sort of twice as excessive as his common launch angle this season (9 levels), by way of Statcast.

Nonetheless, Verdugo is hitting the ball nicely and is taking part in extra just like the model of himself within the first three months of the season, which may point out that his July efficiency was extra of an anomaly than his hitting this month.

Verdugo famous that it was “bizarre” he’s hit a leadoff homer in three consecutive video games, although it’s only a results of his pregame course of.

“On the finish of the day, simply making an attempt to deal with my enterprise, prepare for the sport one of the best I can, do my scouting report on the pitchers, and put myself in a great place to succeed,” Verdugo stated.