Red Sox

How an adjustment sparked Kiké Hernández’s hot streak for the Red Sox

Hernández has dominated opposing pitching in the postseason thanks to tweaking his positioning in the batter's box, according to Red Sox hitting coach Tom Hyers.

Kiké Hernández Red Sox
Kike Hernandez rides the home run cart in the Red Sox dugout after homering off of Gerrit Cole in June. Jim Davis/Globe Staff
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Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández is doing things no one has in the Major League Baseball postseason, which, mind you, has taken place for a few decades. And boy, has it been fun watching him do it.

In his last five games, Hernández has set records for hits (15), extra-base hits (9), and total bases (34), and has hit 16-for-32 (.500) with five home runs and nine RBIs.

That already eclipses his previous high of eight runs knocked in during 13 playoff games in 2017 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Most notably, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Hernández has been annihilating breaking pitches he has traditionally struggled with. A career .196 hitter against breaking balls in the regular season, the streaky all-purpose player is hitting 7-for-10 with three homers off such pitches in the 2021 postseason.

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So how did Hernández become the greatest baseball player in Red Sox history over the course of a few games?

Apparently, just a willingness to think outside the “box” — literally — according to Red Sox hitting coach Tom Hyers.

“He’s scooted up a hair [in the batter’s box], trying to get the ball maybe a hair closer to him,” Hyers, who coached Hernández while the two were with the Dodgers, revealed to Rosenthal. “That little bit has helped him out. His plan, seeing the ball close to him, getting it up and not chasing the breaking ball away. He’s just not missing it right now…His upper body and lower body are just in sync so well. Getting the ball close to him, it’s worked for him.”

Houston Astros starter Framber Valdez found that out the hard way when he tried to flip a curveball over to Hernández in Game 1 only to see it leave the planet.

Hernández has hit all of his five home runs in his last four playoff games, including two in the Red Sox’ Game 1 loss. He has also played some stellar baseball in center field both with his arm and his bat.

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Suffice it to say Boston has gotten its money’s worth out of the two-year, $14-million contract the former Dodger utility player signed with them this offseason.

If he keeps carrying the Red Sox like this, he might even get a chance to earn his second World Series ring in as many seasons.

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