From one good hitter to another, Andrew Vaughn is impressed by what Eloy Jimenez can do, and what he’s doing lately. And envious.
“He’s a freakish hitter,” Vaughn said. “His bat to ball skills are impressive. A phenomenal hitter, and you have the strength he does, he’s going to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
There are the 423-foot shots to left-center like the one against Rockies righty Chad Kuhl on Tuesday. And there are opposite-field pokes, “like the one he hit in Oakland against the lefty [A.J. Puk],” Vaughn said. “[Bleep], he just flipped one out to right field.”
The latter sparked a five-run rally in the ninth inning, perhaps the Sox’ biggest win of the year.
Jimenez hit into a double play, struck out and was 1-for-4 in the Sox’ 3-0 loss to the Rockies, cooled off like the rest of a lineup that was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Vaughn was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
With the Sox trying to chase down Cleveland in the final 19 games, Jimenez is batting .452/.486/.903 with four home runs and 12 RBI over his last eight games.
Since the All-Star break he was hitting .366/.436/.610 with 11 homers, 32 RBI and a 1.046 OPS in 48 games. Among major-league leaders in that span, Jimenez ranked second in average and on-base percentage, third in OPS and fourth in slugging. Sustaining that level would go a long way toward keeping the Sox in the playoff hunt.
“It almost seems effortless,” Vaughn said. “He has effortless power. He can hit the ball to right field as far as some left-handers can pull the ball. It’s special to see him locked in.”
Jimenez in his post-surgery condition after tearing his hamstring in April is now a full-time designated hitter, a spot he doesn’t like but is adapting to.
“I need to find a way to be there for my team,” Jimenez said. “Whatever it takes to keep my focus on what I need to do, and try to do my job. I still don’t like it but that’s my job. It is what it is.”
Robert not 100%
Luis Robert singled his first time up but his swing didn’t look normal as he still deals with a sore left wrist and hand.
“I saw not too comfortable,” acting manager Miguel Cairo said. “I’m going to talk to him and look at it, see how he feels and we’ll see what we’re going to do [Thursday].”
Rockies pull the upset
Rockies manager Bud Black liked his team’s approach Wednesday against Dylan Cease, who allowed three runs in five innings. Colorado made the Cy Young candidate grind through 107 pitches.
“I thought we had a great approach,” Black said. “We laid off a lot of borderline pitches. He’s got such good stuff, right? And he gets strikeouts in and out of the zone. And today our guys were stingy out of the zone.
“We got the pitch count up, we got a couple key hits and we had to make him really work.”