The weekly article series where we examine the two players who deserve to strut their stuff for the Boston Red Sox. This week — Mookie Betts and David Price.
Now 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.
The Boston Red Sox have played seven games since the last Red Sox Strut was posted on BoSox Injection. They lost two of three against the Baltimore Orioles, won two of three against the Seattle Mariners and lost the first game of a four game series versus the White Sox on Monday night. They aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard like they were earlier in the season, and the pitching hasn’t been stellar, as more pressure has been put on the staff to perform when they aren’t putting up huge numbers of runs every game. Still, Boston isn’t playing badly by any means and should remain competitive all season.
Over the course of the last seven games, there have been some solid performances both at the plate and on the mound. So for this week’s Red Sox Strut, it’s the usual suspects that will do the honors.
POSITIONAL PLAYER: Mookie Betts
When it came to positional players, the big contributors and performers were a list of guys that have been consistently recognized in the Strut feature this season. Dustin Pedroia had a couple multi-hit games, but he also had a few 0-4 showings. The other veteran, David Ortiz, continued to show he has no interest in slowing down at the plate in the final season of his career. Big Papi had at least one hit in six of the seven games after getting shut down like the rest of the team against Chicago on Monday. Ortiz also added two more home runs to bring his total to 18 on the year.
Jackie Bradley Jr. got back on track in the last week. JBJ had plateaued a bit after his insane hitting streak came to an end, but he was seeing the ball well once again against Baltimore and Seattle. He had at least one hit in five of the seven games, but only had one multi-hit game. Bradley also hit two home runs of his own. His average is back down to .305, but hopefully Jackie will continue to be a factor for this offense.
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This week’s Strut basically came down to the two guys that are clearly the future leaders of the team, and arguably the best all-around players on the team already. Of course, I’m talking about Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts. Bogaerts started the week slowly when he was unable to get a hit in the first two games of the Orioles series. He was then able to get six hits in the next four games, however he was only able to add two RBI.
That means that the most exciting player on the team (in my opinion) gets to Strut around the clubhouse this week. Mookie Betts went 9-29 (.310) including three multi-hit games to go along with three RBI, two runs scored and one homerun. He is truly the catalyst for this lineup and is fitting in well in his role at the top of the order. Add in his stellar play in the outfield and you have the makings of another week for Mookie to Strut his stuff. I get the feeling that this is going to be a regular occurrence both this season and for many seasons to come.
PITCHER: David Price
Heading into Monday’s game, my mind was made up that a relief pitcher would get to Strut his stuff for the week for the first time this season. Unfortunately, Craig Kimbrel cost Boston the game against the White Sox, allowing two runs to score on two hits and a walk in the tenth inning of a tied game. Before that, Kimbrel hadn’t given up a run in his last four appearances that came over the course of the last week. He also added two more saves and six strikeouts to his stat line. Kimbrel is starting to look like the lights out closer that he was advertised to be when Dave Dombrowski traded for him in the offseason, but that outing on Monday night just really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Once again, the knuckleballer Steven Wright, who one could argue is the best pitcher on the staff and is a potential All-Star, has truly made a great case to get to Strut for the second week straight. He had two very solid starts earning a victory over Baltimore and a no-decision against Chicago. As has been the case in most of his starts, he continued to eat innings going 7.1 innings (6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR) and 9.0 innings (5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 0 HR) in each start. Wright’s ERA is now an amazing 2.01.
Still, I’m going back to the man who people have been questioning early on in his Red Sox career, but has slowly been turning things around over the last couple weeks. David Price is beginning to go deeper into games and is looking to have more command over the strike-zone as of late. Price went 8.0 innings against Baltimore, but the long ball hurt him as he gave up two killer home runs and three runs total. He was able to put away 11 batters by way of the K though.
Then on Sunday, Price put in a masterful performance against the Mariners in a game that Boston really wanted to win to prevent them from falling in two strait series. Again, Price went 8.0 innings, and although Seattle was able to scatter eight hits, he only let up one run and mowed down an additional seven batters. It was nice to see him finally get a win in a one-run game. He leads the American League in strikeouts, is tied for fourth in total wins at eight and has managed to get his ERA down to 4.24. Price is starting to look like the ace the Sox went all out for, and he and Wright have become a nice one-two punch for Boston. It was a tough call, but David Price gets to show off his Strut this week. The way things are going though, Wright should be ready for the call next week.