Red Sox Strut: Outfielder Mookie Betts, RHP Hector Velazquez
By Sean Penney
Position Player Candidates
The Red Sox were able to take three out of four against the Phillies last week, but it wasn’t quite as easy as you’d expect against a last place team. The first two games of the series each ended with thrilling walk-off hits in extra-innings.
The first belonged to Dustin Pedroia, who singled through the hole on the right side of the infield in the 11th inning. Deven Marrero dove head first into home plate, narrowly avoiding the tag. Pedroia was not so lucky in avoiding the mob of teammates that rushed after him to celebrate the victory.
The next night was Andrew Benintendi‘s turn. The rookie came through with a base hit in the 12th for Boston’s second walk-off victory in as many nights. Officially he was only credited with a single, despite that the ball bounced into the stands for what would have been a ground-rule double had the game not ended once the runner from second crossed the plate.
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In order to be given the opportunity to win the game in extra-innings, Boston had to get there first. They can credit Benintendi for helping there as well. Not only did his bases loaded walk put them on the board in the first inning, he also nailed Howie Kendrick with a perfect throw to the plate in the eighth.
Benintendi strung together consecutive three-hit performances to open the week, finishing 8-for-25 (.320) with a home run and five RBI. He also drew a team-high four walks.
It was a bit of a backwards week for Xander Bogaerts. His batting average is sliding after going 8-for-30 last week and he’s hitting only .268 in June. On the other hand, he led Boston’s offense in Sunday night’s win in Houston by bashing a pair of home runs, doubling his season total. Bogaerts drove in four of the team’s six runs that night and tallied a team-high seven RBI for the week.
Jackie Bradley continues his strong month of June, going 8-for-26 at the plate last week with three doubles and triple. He’s now hitting .317/.397/.533 this month.