Go ahead. Google Ryan Lavarnway. There isn’t much there, just yet. The fresh faced young Red Sox prospect probably made his own biggest dent thus far on the Internet last night. With Red Sox regulars Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia out with injuries, the Sox turned to their 24-year-old rookie catcher/utility player, and said a little prayer. As it turns out, someone was listening.
Last night Lavarnway hit his first two major league home runs and drove in four runs to lead the Sox to an 8-7 victory against the Orioles. Lavarnway become the youngest Red Sox player to hit two runs in a game since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. Oddly enough both were 24 years, 51 days old. He had a three-run shot in the fourth and a solo homer in the eighth. When he wasn’t slugging long bombs, Lavarnway also handled his duties behind the plate perfectly. He threw out Baltimore’s Jones trying to steal third in the second inning and, crucially, in the ninth made a perfect play on a tapper in front of the plate to throw out Matt Wieters.
The NFL is going crazy over the Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick after the Harvard man’s opening three electric starts. Well, the Red Sox have their own Ivy league story in Lavarnway, who graduated from Yale with a degree in Philosophy. In 2007 he won the NCAA batting title by hitting .467 and set the standing Ivy League record with a 25-game hitting streak. In addition, he is the Ivy League all-time career home run leader, with 23.
Now what? Do the Sox try and tap into the electric energy coursing through Lavarnway as they face their massive game against the Orioles tonight? Remember they let a youthful Jacoby Ellsbury roam free in 2007, and that kind of worked out for everyone (bar the Rockies).
Tito Francona was effusive in his praise of the young catcher after last nights game;
“That was exciting, Besides what he did offensively, I thought he ran the game, I thought he had a lot of poise. That was one of the more exciting things to watch. We’ve seen a lot of interesting things here over the years. That was right near the top.’’
If those comments are anything to go by, we probably have not seen the last of Ryan Lavarnway in a Sox jersey this season.