When David Ortiz hung up his cleats 589 days ago, Boston sports fans wondered when “the next guy” would arrive. Turns out he was already on the roster.
Mookie Betts is officially “the guy” for the Red Sox. He is the new cornerstone of the franchise, and he will lead this group into the 2020s. We had an inkling that Betts would be able to do this at the start of this season, but what he’s doing right now on a nightly basis is simply phenomenal.
He leads Major League Baseball in batting average, hitting at a .365 clip. He’s tied for first in home runs (with teammate JD Martinez) in home runs with 15, and he’s No. 1 in weighted on-base percentage. In other words, Betts is currently the biggest offensive threat in baseball … oh, and he’s pretty good in the field, too.
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“He’s a complete player,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “My favorite player was Roberto Alomar and that’s the Robbie did. He hit a few homers, he bunted for hits, stole bases, played defense, thought the game. He was a Hall of Famer because of all of that stuff. This guy, he does the same thing.
“He’s doing what I envisioned when I got the job – to put pressure on the opposition from pitch one,” Cora continued. “He’s one of the best players in the big leagues right now.”
Betts has 20 multi-hit games this season, and recently he’s been scorching the ball. He had three singles against the Orioles last Thursday, and the very next night he had two doubles and a homer against Baltimore. Saturday against the O’s, he clocked yet another home run.
What’s on tap
The Red Sox will open up a three game set with the Rays in Tampa Bay on Tuesday with Chris Sale (4-1, 2.29 ERA) getting the ball. David Price (4-4, 4.38 ERA) is slated to throw Wednesday for the Sox, with Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 5.97 ERA) set to pitch in the series finale on Thursday.
The Rays (22-23) are hovering around .500 on the season and are a distant third in the AL East behind the Yankees (30-13) and Red Sox (32-15).