Remember, to fully understand what the Red Sox Strut is, it means to have reason to walk with a confident, proud air around you. Some people mistake it for vanity, arrogance, or being pompous. This incorrect assumption is not what we mean. The Strut is about knowing that your deeds showed off your amazing skills to the baseball-loving public.
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To be fair, this week, not many Boston Red Sox players or fans felt like strutting very much. However, two Red Sox in particular had good outings that were cause for celebrations and recognition.
Young center fielder Mookie Betts is turning Boston into Mookie Maniacs. Red Sox Nation has seen him do highlight-reel catches before, last season, but his overall game has continued to improve.
The 22-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee has been coming up big in the clutch, recently. In the last seven days, Betts hit .250, with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs, which led the team. He also crossed home plate 3 times. Now, the batting average, at first, does not seem like much to strut about; however, his hits came when the game was on the line. Two of his home runs were the only scoring that either the Red Sox or Tampa Bay Rays had, in their game on Tuesday night. Another hit was a walk-off single that cashed in the winning run from scoring position.
Combine that with his amazing catches on defense and you have one of the best players to have an impact for his team, anywhere in baseball. At only 5’9″ and 180 pounds, Betts has excited the home crowd, not letting the pressures of Fenway Park get to him, as he hits better at home (.274) than at away games, this season. Our own Matthew Loper of BoSox Injection said that Betts “did his best to reincarnate ‘Mookie magic’ from Tuesday night,” as he hit his third home run in two games, last night, to try to rally the troops from their eventual defeat to the Rays.
The lovefest is infectious, with the fans and the players, this spring:
And this is only the beginning. Betts was actually hitting in a slump ten days ago, batting only .189 and looking like the pressure was getting to him. Now, it may be that Betts has turned the corner, feeling his first bit of challenge and using it as a learning experience for his, most likely, bright future.
May 5, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcherRick Porcello
(22) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
This week’s choice was not a very hard one to make, considering the state of the Red Sox’ pitching staff. Rick Porcello’s last outing was more like a conductor of a major-league symphony orchestra.
Porcello was the only pitcher to earn a win in the last seven days. It was also the second victory in a row for the righty from Morristown, New Jersey. Both games, he pitched 7 strong innings, giving up a combined 10 hits and an earned run. In his last game, against the Tampa Bay Rays, Porcello blanked the scoreboard, not allowing a run or even a walk. He also struck out 6 opposing batters, swinging his arm fluidly towards the catcher.
The mound has been his podium as he conducted business, as of late. His 91-mph four-seamer has been his note of choice (41.6%), according to FanGraphs.com. Porcello was able to locate it nice and low, either blowing past batters or putting them in play for easy grounders. The steady flow made for a steady night of pitching, giving Boston’s relief pitchers a much-needed rest. They could sit in the bullpen, letting the music of the umpire’s voice singing ‘out’ take them away into paradise for the night.
Much like Betts, if this recent effort means that Porcello has turned the corner from a slow start, where his ERA ballooned to 6.63, maybe he can inspire the rest of his colleagues on the mound to take up the same sheet of music that he’s been using.
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