Brock Holt taking his game to another level at plate, solidifying Red Sox leadoff spot
|06.01.14 at 8:11 pm ET|
It is hard to imagine Brock Holt getting any hotter at the plate than he is right now, but then again, it was easy to think that Saturday night when the infielder went 2-for-5 with a home run (the first of his career) and two RBIs.
Instead of taking it easy after his strong performance from the day before, Holt topped his performance from Saturday with a 4-for-4 outing with four doubles and two RBIs.
Holt tied a major league record for most doubles in a game. It was the first time the feat has been accomplished since Victor Martinez four years ago. When Holt came up, he was viewed as placeholder until the Red Sox sorted out their infield situation, which they accomplished when they Stephen Drew just days later.
The Drew signing has not halted Holt from going out and impressing. There was no way to predict the kind of performance that Holt would display since being called up just two weeks ago.
“I can’t predict tomorrow, let alone two weeks,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s doing a great job. He’s solidified the leadoff spot as we mentioned before the game, trying to find ways with defensive flexibility to keep him on the field. He stays inside some pitches to go the other way. He uses the whole field. He’s driving the ball with a little bit more authority this year than a year ago and is playing with a lot of confidence. First time he’s ever played first base today and he did a good job.”
Holt has become so valuable as a table-setter leading off for the Red Sox that the team has been pushed to move the infielder off of third base. With Drew coming back, Holt now will slide over to first base, where he will start every day with Mike Carp out for the foreseeable future with a fractured right foot and Mike Napoli still healing from his wounds.
Holt is playing with as much confidence as he has ever played with before.
“[My confidence is] pretty high,” Holt said. “Confidence is a big part of being successful. If you are confident in your abilities to go out and play like we’re capable of playing, so right now things are going well.”
Farrell said Holt’s confidence has played a major role in his success so far this season.
“He’s in a good place and I think because he’s confident right now, there’s probably more openness and willingness on his part to go to first base for the first time in his career,” Farrell said. “More importantly, he’s setting the table for us offensively and been a big contributor throughout this last seven days, as have been many. This seven-game stretch has seen contributions by guys up and down the roster, it hasn’t been a focal point of a couple of guys in the lineup.”
Holt has shown more power in ’14 than he did last year, his first year with the organization after coming over from the Pirates alongside Joel Hanrahan. Holt, who is hitting .337/.385/.500 with one homer, nine doubles, one triple, three stolen bases and 11 RBIs, says he has not made any mechanical adjustments since last year.
“I haven’t done anything really mechanically,” Holt said. “I came into this year telling myself to shake off last year. I’ve always been able to hit, not too many home runs, but I hit some doubles, hit some balls in the gap, so just getting back to what I’m used to doing and have fun doing it, and right now it’s working out.”
After playing first base for the first time in his life on Sunday, Holt said playing a new position won’t take away from his ability to produce at the plate.
“It feels good,” Holt said. “You try not to think about your defense and your offense and mix them together. You think about offense on offense and defense on defense, so that’s something I’ve tried to do my whole career, not kind of combine the two, so that helped me out today as well.”
Despite his otherworldly production at the plate as of late, Holt does not believe his recent success is out of his ability.
“I’ve got confidence in my ability and I think it’s showing,” Holt said. “Like I said, trying to go out and have fun and not try to do too much and just enjoy the game and hopefully good things happen.”
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