Pair of super-utilitymen win Player of Week

July 26th, 2021

From 2016-20, Kiké Hernández and were Dodgers teammates, two of the versatile, productive players who carved out key roles in the club’s string of division titles and long-awaited 2020 World Series title.

Hernández is no longer a Dodger -- he signed with Boston as a free agent last offseason -- but he and Taylor are now tied together in another way. On Monday, the two super-utilitymen were named the AL and NL Players of the Week presented by Chevrolet.

Hernández was a major factor in the Red Sox going 5-1 against the Blue Jays and Yankees between July 19 and Sunday, a stretch that allowed them to maintain the AL East lead over the Rays. He went 10-for-25 (.400) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs, three walks, nine RBIs and eight runs scored during the week, while splitting his starts between second base and center field and making one appearance at shortstop.

The damage included a game-tying two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday against the Yankees’ Chad Green, which set up a Red Sox win in the 10th. Hernández came through in the clutch again on Sunday against New York with an RBI double that helped Boston turn a 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

“That’s pretty cool,” Hernández said of receiving the honor for the first time. “It was a pretty cool week, pretty special weekend series against the Yankees at home. I was able to have my family here to experience that as well. So it was pretty cool, pretty special and I’m glad my first [POW] Award came as a Red Sox.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Hernández has been been doing an amazing job.

“Hitting the ball hard, playing good defense," said Cora. "He’s been running the bases well. He’s been doing a great job. We gave him those off-days [a few weeks ago]. We gave him one off-day, we benched him the next one, and then we put him at the bottom of the lineup ... for him to breathe. He’s made some adjustments. He’s been better controlling the strike zone, and he’s hitting the ball hard.”

While the Dodgers had an up-and-down week, ultimately going 3-4 to put them two games behind the Giants in the NL West, Taylor was spectacular. A first-time All-Star in 2021, the 30-year-old Taylor went 0-for-4 last Monday against the Giants but then hit safely in each of the next six games, producing an overall slash line of .414/.433/1.000. He had two doubles, five home runs, a walk, six RBIs and nine runs scored, while serving as his club’s everyday shortstop in place of the injured Corey Seager.

Taylor’s two multi-homer games this past week doubled his previous career total. The first came on Tuesday in a come-from-behind win over San Francisco, as Taylor started a rally from 6-1 down with a fifth-inning solo shot and continued it with a two-run shot that made it 6-5 in the sixth. He also drew a walk to begin the bottom of the ninth, then came around to score on Will Smith’s walk-off big fly.

Taylor also homered twice on Sunday, with the second bringing the Dodgers even with the Rockies in the fifth inning to set up a 3-2 victory.