No surprise that the Boston Red Sox erupted from a brief American League Championship Series slump to hit their way to a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 on Sunday night in Boston. It was an abridged version of the club’s remarkable last place-to-ALCS climb since the end of the 2012 season, and hitting coach Greg Colbrunn has been the unsung star in his first season on a Major League staff.
Numbers tell the story – lots of numbers. The 44-year-old Mount Pleasant resident was hired last November after Boston hit .260 as a team in 2012 (sixth in the American League).
This year the Red Sox hit .277, second-best in the AL (behind Detroit).
Colbrunn, a 13-year Major League veteran who most recently served as manager and hitting coach of the Charleston RiverDogs in separate jobs over six seasons, has had a positive impact on most of the Red Sox hitters.
Only three Boston regulars had lower regular season batting averages from 2012 to 2013: David Ortiz (.318/.309), Jonny Gomes (.275/.247) and Will Middlebrooks (.288/.227).
But check out the gains for the rest of the Red Sox (2012 batting average/2013 batting average and percentage gain):
Mike Carp: .213 with Mariners/.296 (.83)
Daniel Nava: .243/.303 (.60)
Jason Saltalamacchia: .222/.273 (.51)
Shane Victorino: .245 with Dodgers/.294 (.49)
Mike Napoli: .227 with Rangers/.259 (.32)
Stephen Drew: .223 with Athletics and Diamondbacks/.253 (.30)
Jacoby Ellsbury: .271/.298 (.27)
Dustin Pedroia: .290/.301 (.11)
Or how about the Jose Iglesias example?
The 23-year-old shortstop hit .118 in 68 at-bats with Boston in 2012. This season, he hit .330 in 215 Red Sox at-bats before going to Detroit in a three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox to Boston.
Iglesias then hit .259 in 135 at-bats with the Tigers.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff