Christian Vazquez has spent the last few seasons intent on proving he deserves to be in the discussion when it comes to identifying the game's best catchers.
Thanks to his start to 2021, he is helping advance that conversation.
For the second straight game, Vazquez cleared the left field wall at Fenway Park, this time giving the Red Sox' a two-run lead thanks to his fourth-inning home run off Tampa Bay's Ryan Yarbrough.
The homer gave the Red Sox lead the good on the way to a 9-2 win and series sweep over the Rays.
“I'm feeling good. I'm feeling sexy (at) the plate," Vazquez said. "This feels good to be helping the team win. It feels good to sweep the Rays, it feels good to win. It’s a good feeling around. We’re playing better, we’re playing aggressive, we're pitching better. It feels good to win."
Vazquez's blast traveled 376 feet and carried an exit velocity of 104.9 mph.
The homer was the first allowed by Yarbrough since Aug. 21, 2020.
Vazquez, who was serving as the Red Sox' designated hitter Wednesday, entered the series finale against the Rays with a .400 batting average and 1.137 OPS. He tied the game Tuesday night with a leadoff homer in the ninth inning.
"When I see how people rank catchers, outside of our world, he's the closest thing to a complete package," said Red Sox manager Ale Cora. "He's swinging the bat the last two years. Defensively we know what he can do, but nobody gives him the recognition. It's not that he needs it, but I do believe that he's one of the top catchers in the league. I'm very proud of him because he puts work. You talk about his weight, he's a lot lighter now. He worked on his swing the last three years. He buys Rapsodo and a batting cage and all that. He just wants to be one of the best. It's not about recognition. It's about putting in work. I'm very happy that he's off to a great start. Obviously last year was a 60-game season, but it was a good one. What he did two years ago was amazing and hopefully he can continue doing that."
Cora added, "He's one of the toughest ones in that clubhouse. He wants to play every day. That catching position is a tough one. He knows it, but we had no doubt as far as him performing, because his swing is very simple. It was just a matter of stamina. He hadn't caught for a week. We have to take care of him, and we have a good one behind him, too. Kevin (Plawecki) did an amazing job in the first one he played, and today he did a good job with Nate (Eovaldi). We're in a good position behind the plate. Everything starts with Christian, and it's not surprising at all that he's swinging the bat the way he is."