Never-ending Story: Sox 2B's hot streak becomes historic

May 27th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Trevor Story is baseball’s hottest hitter and there seems to be no stopping him. 

His all-around performance was on display once again in the Red Sox’s 16-7 win against the White Sox on Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Times like this are rare,” Story said. “[It’s] a great feeling. I’m trying to just live in the moment and have good at-bats when I can.”

Story started his night by driving in a run in the first inning on an RBI single. One inning later, he belted a three-run shot off Dallas Keuchel to give Boston a 6-0 lead. The blast was Story’s seventh homer in the past seven games and eighth over his last 10.

“Story’s just locked in,” said Alex Verdugo, who went 4-for-6 with three RBIs. “He really looks good. He’s just seeing the ball and not missing it.”

Those four RBIs by Story gave him 21 over his last seven games. It's the most by any Red Sox player over a seven-game span within a single season since 1920 -- the year RBIs first began being tracked -- and the most in MLB history since Edwin Encarnación plated 21 from Aug. 23-30 in 2015, per Elias Sports Bureau.

Story also extended his month’s total to 32 RBIs, which is tied for seventh-most all-time in May. He needs 10 RBIs over the next five days -- six games -- to break Ted Williams’ record for most RBIs in the month of May (41).

Story finished Thursday’s game going 2-for-4 with one home run, four RBIs, one walk and one stolen base. The 29-year-old continues to see the ball well, batting .333 (13-for-39) over his last 10 games, with eight home runs, 22 RBIs, six walks and three stolen bases.

This was the star that the Red Sox acquired over the offseason

“It’s cool to see,” manager Alex Cora said. “A few weeks ago, everybody was getting on him because he was struggling. This was the player that we envisioned and it’s fun to watch.” 

After the slow start, the right-handed slugger has completely turned his season around. He went from getting booed for striking out four times on May 5 against the Angels to putting himself into some elite company in just three weeks. 

“Controlling my zone has been huge and not missing my pitch when I get it,” Story said of his adjustment. “That’s been the key. When I get my pitch and take my swing at it, I want the at-bat to end there. I’ve done a better job at that lately.” 

On May 8, Story was batting .194 with 35 strikeouts -- which was more than three times his RBI output (10) -- and zero home runs. Since then, the slugger has nine home runs, 27 RBIs and 18 strikeouts.

And it just feels like every time Story steps to the plate with runners on, he does damage.

“I’m not putting anything past that guy right now,” said Michael Wacha, who gave up seven hits and five runs over 4 1/3 innings. “It’s just fun to watch him go up there.”

The improvement of Story’s discipline at the plate has helped push Boston in the right direction. Following Thursday’s win, the Red Sox have won four straight series and 11 of their past 15 games.

“He’s doing his part right now,” Cora said. “And it seems like his feet are on the ground now and he’s able to relax.”

But he’s not the only Red Sox player seeing the ball well at the plate. J.D. Martinez has also been key in Boston’s recent winning surge and has been one of the most consistent hitters in 2022.

After going 3-for-5 on Thursday with three runs scored and one walk, the right-handed slugger upped his batting average to an MLB-best .380 and his OPS to 1.029, third highest in the Majors.

“I’ve never seen him this way,” Cora said. “Honestly, this is the best I’ve seen him.”

Those three hits, however, are nothing new for him. Martinez has notched at least one hit in 33 of the 36 games he’s played this season. He’s also been on base -- via walk or hit -- in all but one contest, on May 18 against the Astros when he went 0-for-3 with one RBI.

With that lone RBI, Martinez has contributed in every single Red Sox game he has started this season.

“He’s still working, regardless of the result,” Cora said. “Very pleased with the approach and pleased with the results.”

Both Story and Martinez continue to produce in the middle of the lineup for the Red Sox. They are hitting a combined .438 (35-for-80), over their last 10 games. That timely hitting has sparked seven of eight wins.

“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” Verdugo said.