Aug. 10—Of the many injuries to befall the Red Sox in recent weeks, one of the most damaging could have been losing Trevor Story to a broken wrist.
One of Boston's best defenders and most prolific run producers, Story's impact isn't something that can be easily replaced. That much was clear when the best option to play second base was rookie Jeter Downs, but since returning from his own injury Christian Arroyo has done a pretty good job filling his shoes.
Arroyo is currently in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career. Since returning from a left groin strain that kept him sidelined for three weeks on July 30, Arroyo has batted .448 with a 1.070 OPS while playing outstanding defense. He played an especially big part Tuesday, going 2 for 5 with a home run, a double and three RBI in Boston's 9-7 loss in 11 innings.
While the Braves proved too much in the end, several times when the Red Sox needed him on Tuesday he came through.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the second, Arroyo put the Red Sox in front with a two-run home run to dead center field.
Two innings later, after the Braves retook the lead with a two-run shot of their own, Arroyo delivered again with a game-tying RBI double to make it 4-4.
That set the stage for the game's late-inning theatrics, with J.D. Martinez tying the game in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single and then later tying the game again on a 10th inning sacrifice fly before the Braves finally put the game away for good in the top of the 11th with a two-run double by Austin Riley.
The end result aside, it was at least a fun, exciting and competitive game, which lately have been in short supply for the Red Sox.
Arroyo has been a bright spot during an otherwise difficult time. Tuesday started with news that Chris Sale broke his wrist in a bicycle accident and will miss the rest of the season, and then closer Tanner Houck also went on the injured list with lower back inflammation. Once the game began Rich Hill got hit hard, new trade acquisition Eric Hosmer left the game after taking a foul ball off his left knee, and the bullpen gave up the lead or allowed Atlanta to pull ahead four times from the sixth inning on.
The Red Sox remain well behind the pack in the playoff hunt and now face long odds to make that postseason after at one point topping 80% in late June, but performances like Tuesday against teams like the defending World Series champion Braves show the Red Sox do have it in them to keep up with the best.
If they can get a few others going like Arroyo, maybe they finally will start turning things around.
Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.