It had been a sleepy Sunday for the Red Sox until the top of the eighth inning, when Franchy Cordero hit the first pitch of the frame for a mammoth homer that was truly a sight to see.
Well, at least it was a sight to see until it all but disappeared from the sight of most people at Citizens Bank Park. The shot soared over the second deck in right-center field and then landed near the concession area below.
Cordero’s first homer with his new team was a certifiable bomb, and it came against Phillies righty Zack Wheeler, who had dominant stuff all day. In fact, Cordero’s titanic blast snapped Wheeler’s shutout bid on a day the Phillies beat the Red Sox, 6-2, on getaway day.
Per Statcast, Cordero’s smash had an exit velocity of 118.6 mph and a projected distance of 474 feet. That made it the second-longest home run by a Red Sox player since Statcast started tracking them in 2015.
“I feel like it kind of went a little bit further, but if that's what they got it at, then it is what it is,” Cordero said through an interpreter. “But you know, obviously the result is still the same.”
For Cordero, who is known for his massive raw power, it was the second-longest homer of his career. He hit a 489-foot bomb for the Padres at Arizona on April 20, 2018.
“It's been a long time since I've been able to crush a ball like that,” said Cordero.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who has been around baseball for an even longer time, was asked if it was one of the longest homers he’s ever seen.
“Yes,” said Cora. “That was impressive, he crushed that one.”
The only Red Sox homer that had as long of a projected distance since the advent of Statcast in 2015 was launched 478 feet by Jackie Bradley Jr. at Coors Field on Aug. 27, 2019.
Cordero’s blast was the highest exit velocity of any Boston home run on record. And it was the longest homer at Citizens Bank Park since Statcast has been tracking them.
As the ball left Cordero’s bat, nobody -- including Philadelphia's outfielders -- bothered to move. Everyone just kind of stood and watched and wondered where it would land.
“It feels great to be able to make contact on a pitch like that, but obviously, whenever I hit a ball like that, you kind of don't even feel the bat anymore,” Cordero said. “Once you make contact, it just goes and that's all you're seeing is where the ball is going.”
It was only the fifth homer of both 118-plus mph and 470-plus feet since Statcast began tracking. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton both have two.
“He’s a strong guy. Every time a pitcher makes a mistake on him, he’s going to make them pay. That doesn’t surprise me that much,” said Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. “I know he can hit the ball that far and farther than that. You guys are probably going to see more of that.”
Perhaps hitting such a rocket will help Cordero gain more consistency. The outfielder has had a tough first season for the Red Sox so far, slashing .179/.228/.274.
“It definitely feels good to be able to get a hold of one like that,” said Cordero. “It provides more confidence in knowing what I’m capable of doing. It’s definitely helpful.”
Other than Cordero's moonshot, it was a tough day for the Red Sox. Rodriguez continued his recent struggles, throwing 34 pitches in the first inning and giving up four runs (all in the first) over four-plus frames. After a strong April, Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 6.48 ERA in May.
“You look at the last couple starts, I’m just going out there and grinding. It’s normal,” said Rodriguez. “It happens most of the time. Nobody wants to go through that, but I just have to go out there again and get better every day. You’re never going to have 34 straight starts where you go seven innings and no runs. Just grind through it and get ready for the other one.”