In his first three at bats in the Rays / Red Sox game Monday night, outfielder Sam Fuld raked against Boston’s pitchers. He hit a homerun just inside the right field foul pole in the second inning – driving in two runs in the process – and then he hit a ball into the left center field gap and hustled into second base, getting a double on a headfirst slide. In his third at bat, Fuld ripped a ball into deep straightaway center field, and Jacoby Ellsbury couldn’t quite bring it in. The ball deflected off his glove as he attempted to make an over the shoulder catch, and Fuld cruised in to third base easily with a stand up triple.
Fuld is one of the players the Rays acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade, and he entered the season as the Rays’ fourth outfielder. He’s since proven himself to be an effective player, hitting balls hard, running the bases aggressively, stealing bases at every chance, and diving for any ball in his general vicinity on defense. While his bat profiles more as a reserve outfielder’s bat going forward, Fuld has been on fire recently and he’s caught nearly every ball hit near him on defense. He’s made some incredible plays recently, and he’s quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Fuld received two more at bats during Monday night’s game, giving him two final chances to hit for the cycle. Fuld flew out to left fielder Carl Crawford in the seventh, but then in the ninth inning he laced a rope into the left field corner. Instead of stopping at first base – as his teammates were screaming at him from the bench to do – Fuld hustled into second base for his second double of the game.
If you’d like to consider this as hitting for the cycle, Fuld would be only the second player in Rays history to hit for the cycle. B.J. Upton was the first player.