He may not hit many home runs, but when Nick Green hits them, he hits them. Green hit his career-high-matching sixth home run tonight, and it went clear out of Fenway Park, on to Landsdowne Street. Green has four home runs at home this year. Three of them have left the entire stadium.
And those don’t include the longest home run Green hit this season. In a spring training game in Bradenton, Fla., Green smoked a ball to center. It was the perfect pitch, the wind was blowing out. The ball hit a wall about 425 feet from home plate “And it was still going up,” Green said.
Playing part time for most of his first season in Boston, when Green does something, he does it. He didn’t just make a throwing error one afternoon in Seattle; he threw a ball three rows deep that set up the game-winning run scoring. He didn’t just hit a home run against the Atlanta Braves; he wrapped a fly ball around Pesky’s Pole that won the game.
You notice Green. He has 34 RBIs this season, and eight of them – or 23 percent – have put the Sox ahead. He tried to field a ground ball in Washington once, and a flying, jagged barrel of a bat nearly impaled him. He finds himself in the middle of things.
But it has not always been easy this season. About halfway through the season, Green was batting .281, the best offensive season of his career. From June 28 through Saturday, Green hit .114 in 70 at-bats while the temporary return of Jed Lowrie cut into his playing time.
“It’s been a rollercoaster for me,” Green said. “I started out feeling great. I continued to feel good, but nothing came out of it. All of a sudden, I look at the scoreboard, and I’m hitting .230. It’s one of things. I can’t let my confidence go down.”
Right when the Sox needed him, Green delivered. Tonight, as the game was about to slip away, as the Sox’ season was in full spiral, Green came to the plate with J.D. Drew on third and the Sox down one. He lifted a sacrifice fly to center, plenty deep enough for Drew to score standing up.
That was go-ahead RBI number eight, game-winning RBI number four for Green. Since Green bottomed out at .232 on Saturday, he’s 3 for 6. Green believes he’s been making good contact for about a week, ever since he discovered a glitch in his stance.
He felt himself narrowing his base while he batted, his feet closer together. It caused him to stride too far, and the weight transfer threw off his balance. “They’re little things,” Green said. “But they’re big things for me.”
Dave Magadan, the Sox hitting coach, and Green worked out the issue. Green has been making more solid contact ever since. The change paid off twice tonight, once in the seventh and once in the second, when he blasted a ball out of Fenway Park.
Afterward, Green knew what the hits meant, to both a previously reeling team and himself.
“You want to succeed any time you get a chance to,” Green said. “Obviously, if things aren’t going that well, you put more pressure on yourself than you should. Usually that doesn’t work out so well. Anytime I can come up in a situation where I come through, it makes me feel good.”