Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts hammered the first pitch he saw for a home run in each of his first two at-bats against the Twins.
Mookie Betts couldn’t wait to put the Boston Red Sox on the board, striking quickly at the first pitch he saw and sending it into the Monster seats in left field.
The exit velocity on the 348-foot solo shot was a mere 93.9 mph. Betts didn’t quite barrel it up but the cheap ones count all the same.
This marks the third time this season that Betts has led off a game with a home run and the 19th time in his career that he’s done it.
Betts stayed aggressive when he stepped to the plate again in the second inning. This time there were a couple of runners on base when Betts once again went deep on the first pitch of the at-bat from Minnesota Twins ace Jose Berrios. There was nothing cheap about this one. Betts hammered a hanging curve that flew 438 feet at an exit velocity of 105.1 mph.
This was the 13th career multi-home run game that Betts has recorded as a leadoff hitter, tying Barry Bonds for the third most in major league history.
Berrios tried to be a bit more careful with Betts when he faced him in the fourth inning, throwing a two-seam fastball to brush him off the plate for ball one. The next pitch was a low changeup that Betts drilled for a base hit. It may have been the best contact Betts made all night but the line drive ricocheted off the wall near third base to hold him to a single.
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Minnesota’s starer wouldn’t stick around long enough to face Betts a fourth time, as an RBI double from Christian Vazquez chased Berriors from the game with nobody out in the sixth inning. The bullpen didn’t fare much better. Betts stung a single to left against right-hander Cody Stashak for his fourth hit and fifth RBI of the game.
The Twins pitching staff finally figured out how to get Betts out in the eighth inning. Well, sort of. Betts smoked a bullet back to the mound that the pitcher instinctively snagged – more in self defense than an effort to make the out. Basically, the Twins had to get lucky to retire Betts, who settled for a 4-for-5 night.
Many wondered what happened to the pop in Mookie’s bat when he reached the All-Star break with only 13 home runs but his power stroke has returned in the second half. He’s now up to 25 home runs for the season, putting him well within range for his third career 30+ homer campaign.
Anyone criticizing Betts for having a “down” season is out of their minds. Are we really supposed to be disappointed that he’s regressed a bit from one of the greatest single-season performances in franchise history? He set the bar absurdly high with his MVP campaign but even a slight step back still leaves Betts as one of baseball’s best all-around players.