The Boston Red Sox lineup came alive on Sunday afternoon, led by a career best performance from Mookie Betts.
Have yourself a day, Mookie Betts.
The budding young superstar for the Boston Red Sox put on a show in a 16-2 shellacking of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The only thing hotter than the weather on a sweltering Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park was the bat of Betts.
Take a minute to let this stat line soak in:
4-for-6, 3 home runs, 4 runs, 8 RBI.
This marks the second time this season that Betts has blasted a trio of home runs in a game, adding to the three-homer game he produced on May 31 against the Baltimore Orioles. Betts joins an exclusive club of only 20 players in major league history that have had multiple three home run games in a single season, with the iconic Ted Williams being the only other hitter in Red Sox history to appear on that list. The 23-year old Betts is also the youngest player to achieve this rare accomplishment.
The 8 RBI are a career-high for Betts and the most driven in by a Red Sox hitter since Bill Mueller in 2003.
Today’s performance serves as a prime example of the benefit of moving Betts to the No. 3 spot in the lineup. When Betts went deep three times in Baltimore he ended up driving in only five runs in that game. The first of those blasts came to lead off the game, so naturally there were no runners on base ahead of him. This time Betts also homered in the first inning, but Dustin Pedroia was able to get on base ahead of him with a lead off single.
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The season RBI total for Betts now stands at 84, tied for fourth in the American Lead and second behind David Ortiz in the Red Sox lineup. It’s amazing that Betts finds himself anywhere near the top of that list considering he was used exclusively in the lead-off spot until this past week when manager John Farrell finally figured out that he could take advantage of the blossoming power in Betts’ bat by moving him to the middle of the order.
Imagine how many RBI Betts could have ended up with if fellow All-Star Xander Bogaerts had been in the lineup ahead of him. The young shortstop got the day off to rest, while Brock Holt went 0-for-6 at the plate in his place. Holt was the only starter in the Red Sox lineup this afternoon that failed to contribute to the 19 hits the team piled up against Zack Greinke and the Arizona bullpen.
The lineup switch seems to be agreeing with Pedroia as well. The veteran second baseman moved up a spot in the order to fill the vacated lead-off spot and hasn’t missed a beat. He collected five hits today, setting a franchise record with his fifth career 5-hit game.
This monster performance is easily the best of Betts’ career, which is saying something considering how many great games he’s already had. As unfathomable as it may be to top this production, the best may be yet to come for the 23-year old, who is quickly developing into one of the top superstars in baseball.