Through the first 12 games -- or, incredibly, 20 percent -- of the Red Sox season, Alex Verdugo has been in the Red Sox starting lineup eight times, or two-thirds of the games.
Some of that was the result of Ron Roenicke is the unusually high number of lefty starting pitchers in the early going (seven of the 12 games) and Roenicke's wish to get the right-handed-hitting Kevin Pillar into the lineup as much as possible against lefties. (Pillar is the lone righty among the team's top four outfielders).
Verdugo, though in a relatively small sample size, has already demonstrated he's hardly a liability against lefties, with an .843 OPS against them last year, compared to .808 against RHP.
Still, Verdugo hadn't exactly made the case for more consistent playing time -- until Wednesday, when, with one swing, he registered his first extra-base hit, his first homer and first RBI(s) as a member of the Red Sox. His two-run homer to right off Tampa Bay lefty (!) Ryan Yarbrough provided the only backing the Red Sox need en route to a 5-0 shutout.
Verudgo was diplomatic when asked whether his irregular playing time had perhaps been a hindrance over the first two weeks.