Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

Red Sox 11, A's 1: Is Mookie Betts coming to save the day?

Rob Bradford
September 13, 2017 - 2:55 am

The Red Sox could win the way they were going. It would be different. But it would be possible. 

Even David Ortiz understood that.

"As long as they win it's fine," the retired slugger told Tuesday while announcing his partnership with Eastern Bank. "We're looking for wins. Power comes with experience and the time. Pitching is ridiculous. I sit down to watch the game and I'm like, 'Man, these guys are nasty.' It's not as easy as people think it is. They've got a lot of nasty pitchers out there, throwing unbelievable stuff. It's hard. But as long as they're winning and the guys are walking home with a 'W' it doesn't matter.

"They 100 percent can win. I think the guys have a pretty good chance. Every team when you look around, it pretty much looks the same. You have a little bit more with one thing, and less with the other. Others have more of something and less of one thing. It looks pretty much even. You don't have that ball club that looks way better than the others. I think the competition is fair right now."

This is a team that has the fewest homers in the American League, yet still is entrenched atop the American League East. The middle of the order? There hasn't been that consistent intimidating presence that Cleveland, Houston and the Yankees can all stake claim to. But you know what? There has been success without it before.

The Red Sox carry a .799 OPS out of the No. 3 spot, which is the club's second-worst since 2000. But here's the thing: One of those seasons the number actually was lower came in world championship season of 2013.

But, boy, getting a taste of the good life in that third spot sure makes one wonder what could be.

Mookie Betts exploded during the Red Sox' 11-1 win over Oakland Tuesday night, hitting two home runs while collecting six RBI. It is the kind of dominance so many expected out of Betts this season, yet had been left wondering if such consistent production was ever going to come. (For a complete recap of the Red Sox' win, click here.)

It was the 13th time this season Betts claimed three or more hits, with the Red Sox going 11-2 in those contests. Twenty-five times this year Betts has now notched two or more RBI, resulting in a 20-5 record for the Sox in such circumstances. (He also has become the first player in team history to claim 20-plus homers and 20-plus stolen bases in back-to-back seasons.)

Betts has started to hit -- possessing a 1.017 OPS this month -- and when he hits it makes a pretty big difference for this team.

"Well, I think tonight was maybe a snapshot of what we’ve seen the last couple of years from him more consistently," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "To me, he’s just not rushing out to get pitches. He’s letting the ball travel a little deeper in the strike zone. He looks loose in the batter’s box. The bat speed has always been there. I just think he’s putting himself in a better spot to square some pitches up, and against really good velocity, particularly the second home run he hit. That was a beautiful swing. And Chapman makes a heck of a play on another ball that’s hard-hit down the line. Just the fact that he’s, I think, a little bit more upright, a little bit more relaxed, not charging out to get some pitches, is certainly key."

It wasn't the only reason the Red Sox found themselves with the blowout win -- and a four-game lead on the Yankees -- but it certainly didn't hurt.

"Any time you can you can get a couple of guys hot in the lineup, that changes how pitchers pitch and with our lineup it could be two different guys on different days," said Betts, who also witnessed three-hit games from Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. "That’s’ the beauty about us."

Eduardo Rodriguez turned in his second straight solid start, allowing one run on one hit over six innings. The lefty struck out nine and walked four. In three career starts vs. the A's, he has gone 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP), a 0.68 WHIP, and a .108 opponent AVG (8-for-74).






Mookie Betts Player of the Game Interview 09-12-17

Joe & Tim talk with Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts who had two 2-run Home Runs and a 2 RBI triple as the Red Sox rout the Oakland Athletics 11-1 in the series opener at Fenway. Mookie talks about getting his swing back, and the dance he did tonight after the win.

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