Just two weeks ago, Trevor Story was hearing the boos. Fresh off an 0-for-4 game with four strikeouts, the former All-Star shortstop was in the middle of what was arguably the worst slump of his career — batting just .194 with 35 strikeouts in his first 93 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox.
It didn’t help that the former Silver Slugger Award winner also dealt with the flu shortly after the season started, which kept him sidelined and without strength for several games.
After that May 5 game where he donned the proverbial “Golden Sombrero,” Story went straight to the batting cage, joined by teammates J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo as well as hitting coach Pete Fatse, and sought to fix his swing.
Whatever happened in that hour or so in the batting cage appeared to work. Story has since put together maybe the best stretch of his career, and he was named American League Player of the Week for May 16-22.
This week’s top Story: pic.twitter.com/dun7kzETKI
— Red Sox (@RedSox) May 23, 2022
Over seven games last week, Story batted .360 with six home runs, 14 runs batted in and three stolen bases. Perhaps another encouraging sign that better things are ahead for Story was that he struck out just four times all week, while walking five times.
“Just very simple stuff, just trying to be more balanced and be on time,” Story told reporters after his three-homerun game on Thursday. “I think that’s about as simple as I can put it. I’m not trying to do too much and I think that works really well for me.”
The last two weeks have proven to be quite the turnaround for the 29-year-old, now playing second base with the Red Sox after signing in the offseason following a six-year stint with the Colorado Rockies. Even prior to last week’s breakout, Story was showing signs that the bat was coming alive. He hit his first home run on May 11 and drove in five runs that week to go along with his first stolen base.
It’s the type of production the Red Sox hoped for when they signed him this offseason to a six-year, $140 million contract.
Trevor Story is the 3rd player in MLB history to follow a 3-HR game with a grand slam in the next.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 21, 2022
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) May 20, 2022
Throughout his career, Story has emerged as one of the best hitters in the game, but he’s endured his share of difficulties the past two seasons. Last year, in what proved to be his final season in Colorado, he struggled to hit consistently and also found himself on the injured list in late May with elbow inflammation.
He appeared on the “Table Forty” podcast last June with Matt and Leslee Holliday and said his faith is crucial to him when he goes through struggles, like what he experienced to start this year in Boston. It’s what helps him keep things “simple” at the plate.
“I was thinking about it the other day and I was like, ‘I don’t know how you play baseball without being a Christian and having that strong faith,’ just because this game is so demanding and it’s built on failure,” Story said on the podcast. “You’re going to fail many more times than you succeed. That is kind of similar to life.”
Struggling in a place like Boston can add extra pressure as well, as Story faced media criticism for not speaking to reporters after his four-strikeout night as he instead headed straight to the batting cage. Focusing on his relationship with God helps him block out the distractions that come in those seasons.
“I think that’s really rooted in my faith, being in the Word,” Story said on the podcast. “I think we all need to be in the Word more than we are. That’s a challenge of mine that I really try to do.”
Story has played much of his baseball career while keeping a Christ-centered perspective.
“We’re here playing baseball, but we’re called to do something greater, I believe,” Story told Sports Spectrum in 2018. “That’s to further God’s Kingdom, to help others and try to be like Jesus as close as we can. … You’re here for that deeper reason — not just to play baseball. That’s certainly the venue we were blessed to have, to reach as many people as we can.”
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