Watching Josh Reddick grow up into a very smart Red Sox player
|08.08.11 at 4:05 am ET|
Sunday night, Josh Reddick proved he has been paying attention to the small details.
When J.D. Drew went down with his shoulder injury, there were those who wondered if Reddick would be able to maintain his offensive pace while playing a dependable right field.
Sunday night, on the biggest stage Reddick has been on to date, the 24-year-old validated the trust the organization put in him by calling him up and slotting him in right field on a semi-regular basis.
It wasn’t just the fact that he put a great swing on a good Phil Hughes curveball, it was his preparation and planning leading up to his game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th that scored Darnell McDonald with the decisive run in Boston’s 3-2 win over the Yankees.
After Kevin Youkilis flied out to center to open the inning, David Ortiz came to the plate and doubled down the right field line, and Reddick was paying close attention.
“I got a first-pitch curveball over the plate and didn’t really miss it,” Reddick said of his opposite-field single off the base of the Green Monster that scored the winning run. “I watched the way he pitched Papi and was sitting on the pitches he started him off with and luckily he did, and I got a hold of it.
“I hit it really well, barreled it up really well, and it was fading toward the line so even with [Brett] Gardner’s speed, I felt like it was going to get there and we had D-Mac running with some fresh legs so I knew he was going to score no matter what.”
Keep in mind, Reddick was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts before his game-winning hit so he had to find other ways to contribute, and he certainly did. Russell Martin lined a base hit down the right field line with one out in the fifth. Reddick put himself in a perfect position for a bounce right to him.
Martin got greedy and decided to test Reddick. Bad idea. Reddick made a perfect one-hop throw to Marco Scutaro for the second out. But Reddick also made a big defensive play.
“Russell has pretty good speed for a catcher,” Reddick said. “I got off a quick release and a good throw and it ended up being on line and that ended up being a big factor in the game.”
What would’ve been a 2-run homer by Eduardo Nunez turned out to be just a solo and a 1-1 tie instead of a 2-1 Yankees lead.
“He’s got a real strong arm and he likes to show it,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “You see a lot less and less of him air-mailing the ball. He’s keeping it low. That was a terrific play. He’s really athletic. J.D.’s made right field look so easy, and it’s not. But Red’s done a good job.”
Perhaps most impressive about Reddick’s night was the fact that he didn’t let his 0-for-4 in his previous four at-bats affect the way he prepared for his biggest at-bat of the night.
“It’s in the past and you have to let it go,” Reddick said. “We’re still trying to win a ballgame, so you put it behind you, take a deep breath, step back and focus on that at-bat opposed to the ones you had earlier in the night.”
And so, Reddick has his first big “Yankee” moment as a member of the Red Sox.
“It’s always fun and this is actually my first time being a starter in this series and to be a part of that is a great feeling,” Reddick said. “But I prepared for it as I would any other game and tried not to let it get in my head. You’re still playing a baseball game and you still have to win.”
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