Across the disastrous 2020 season, it sometimes seemed that J.D. Martinez had more excuses than big moments.
He claimed baseball's early July re-start caught him off-guard and the brief Summer Camp wasn't long enough for him to get reacclimated. He bemoaned the inability to review his at-bats during games, stripping him of the chance to analyze and adjust his swing. And finally, he dismissed the legitimacy of the 60-game season, suggesting that the results and individual statistics -- including, conveniently, his own -- couldn't be trusted.
Four games into the 2021 season is too soon to determine if Martinez's points were all valid ones. More time is needed to see where this year is headed, and whether 2020 was, indeed, an aberration.
But based on -- ahem -- a very small sample size, Martinez may have been onto something, at least insofar as his own performance goes.
Through four games, the veteran slugger more closely resembles the hitter who terrorized the American League in his first two seasons with the Red Sox, and nothing at all like the guy who barely registered offensively last year with an anemic .389 slugging percentage.
In the three-game sweep by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, Martinez was the only member of the Red Sox lineup to do any damage, collecting six hits and supplying the team's homer. And just in case the skeptics were set to dismiss that production as a byproduct of the O's pitching staff, Martinez kept on bashing when the Tampa Bay Rays showed up to Fenway Monday.