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Monday, August 5, 2013

Shane Victorino Named American League Player of the Week

If you've been paying attention this season (and who hasn't by this point?), you've noticed that the Red Sox are definitely a different team (in a positive manner) with Shane Victorino in the lineup. The numbers bare it out too, Boston is 47-28 when he has started in 2013. Today, the outfielder was deservedly named American League Player of the Week.

Being that it is his first season in the AL, not surprisingly this is the first time he's picked up this award. Last week the Red Sox were 5-2 (all at Fenway Park) and Victorino more than played his part: he was 12 for 30 (.400) with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and seven runs. In five of those seven games, he had multiple hits including three vs. Seattle on Tuesday (8-2 Red Sox win) and 2 for 5 with a solo homer, three RBIs and two runs in Boston's wild 8-7 comeback win vs. Mariners on Thursday. Plus, he's played Gold Glove caliber (he has three of them FYI) defense the whole way.

It's silly to expect this type of production at the plate from Victorino the rest of the season since who knows how many games the 32-year-old (with a 50-year-old's body) will hold up for? He plays such an energetic and physical style that it's no wonder he picks up a bunch of nagging injuries, mostly from running into outfield walls (witness yesterday when he dove into the grandstand).

For the season in 80 games, he's hit .290/.337/.423 with 49 runs, 89 hits, 16 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 34 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. His presence in the lineup makes Boston that much more dangerous since he's a natural No. 2 hitter behind Jacoby Ellsbury (who is a great leadoff hitter) and in front of Dustin Pedroia who isn't your prototypical No. 3 hitter but has done the job well enough. In Sunday's 4-0 win over Arizona, Ellsbury, Victorino and Pedroia did most of the damage for the Red Sox. That shows what they're capable of when they are all healthy and swinging the bat like they have for many seasons before this one.

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