Mookie Betts is the frontrunner for the AL MVP but he was hardly the most valuable player in the ALDS.
The series started with a solid 1-for-3 performance that included a walk, double and a run scored for Betts. He also had a pair of hits with two runs scored and two RBI in Game 3, although essentially everyone pitched in during that 16-run shellacking. The other two games saw Betts go a combined 0-for-8.
Overall, he was 3-for-16 (.188) with only one extra-base hit. He uncharacteristically struck out four times and drew only three walks, one of which was of the intentional variety.
Betts was solid in last year’s series against Houston, hitting .313 with two doubles, a pair of runs and a stolen base. He’s proven capable of performing on the postseason stage so this doesn’t seem to be a matter of a young player shrinking in the spotlight. He’s simply struggling to consistently produce against quality pitching.
He may not classify himself as a power threat but Betts did blast 32 home runs this year and led the league in extra-base hits. Yet he’s never hit a home run in the postseason and has only four extra-base hits in 42 career postseason at-bats. Manufacturing runs can be more difficult in the postseason, especially against a pitching staff as imposing as Houston’s. Betts needs to come through with more than a few singles if Boston is going to keep up with a deep Astros lineup.
The Red Sox offense goes as Betts goes. He’s the spark that ignites the fire. He’s too good to be kept quiet for long but the Red Sox need their best player to snap out of his funk before it’s too late.