Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts crossed the century mark in runs scored for the fourth time in his career, putting him in rare company.
The Boston Red Sox are the highest-scoring team in baseball so it’s no surprise that the man at the top of the order scores runs in bunches. Mookie Betts isn’t simply scoring more runs than everyone else though, he’s piling them up at a historic pace.
Betts crossed the century mark in runs scored during the first inning of Thursday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. A leadoff single put him on board ahead of a home run from Xander Bogaerts that gave Boston an early lead. Betts would add a homer of his own in the seventh inning for run No. 101 this season.
This is the fourth consecutive season that Betts has tallied at least 100 runs scored, placing him in some elite territory in franchise history. Ted Williams (8 seasons), Wade Boggs (7), Johnny Pesky (6), Jimmie Foxx (5), Dom DiMaggio (4), Nomar Garciaparra (4), and Johnny Damon (4) are the only other Red Sox players with 4+ consecutive seasons with 100+ runs scored.
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With 101 runs scored in Boston’s first 110 games, Betts is currently on pace for 149. Ted Williams holds the single-season franchise record with 150, putting Betts in striking distance. He set a career-high last season with 129 runs, which ranks 12th in franchise history. He’ll almost certainly top that this year.
Even if he doesn’t break Teddy Ballgame’s record, Betts should make a strong run at cracking the top-three (Williams holds the three highest-scoring seasons in Red Sox history – turns out he was pretty good).
We can safely rule out Betts topping Babe Ruth‘s MLB record of 177 runs scored set back in 1921. The six highest single-season scoring marks in MLB history are held by Ruth or Lou Gehrig when they were teammates in arguably the most loaded lineups baseball has ever seen. We may never see an offense like that again but at his current pace, Betts could still crack the top-20. Jeff Bagwell (152 runs in 2000) is the only player to score 150+ runs since 1950 and Betts has a realistic shot at joining him.
Betts put any concerns about a down season behind him with a scorching month of July in which he hit .373/.438/.647 with 33 runs scored. He’s not going to win another batting title this year but his average has climbed to a respectable .289 for the season. Batting average is overrated anyway. The key to scoring runs is getting on base and Betts still does that at an elite level, ranking fifth in the American League with a .395 OBP.
Many Red Sox fans are disappointed with the team’s place in the standings, as they enter the day 10.5 games back in the AL East and 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. That hardly means the season is over. Boston is very clearly still in the hunt. Even if they were to fall out of the race, we still have the pleasure of watching one of the greatest players in the game as he makes a run at a historical achievement.