Dan's Dugout: Boston Bets on Betts to Be Best • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Boston Bets on Betts to Be Best

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BOSTON – Fenway Park has two monsters.

One of them is a left-field wall that towers 37 feet over the surface of the venerable Boston ballpark.

The other is a diminutive leadoff type whose unexpected slugging has made him the early favorite for Most Valuable Player honors in the American League.

Booming bat of Mookie Betts has boosted Bosox to the top of the AL East

Mookie Betts already has two three-homer games this season and a club-record four in his career. He and J.D. Martinez, who hit two of four Red Sox homers in a 6-2 win over Atlanta here Friday night, are the only Bosox teammates ever to hit at least 15 homers in Bostjon’s first 50 games.

But Betts has done much more than that.

Entering play Friday, he led the majors in batting, slugging, runs, doubles, home runs, extra-base hits, and total bases. He’s also among the leaders in hits, on-base percentage, and stolen bases. Barring injury, he’s en route to a 30/30 season – if not a rare 40/40 campaign.

Oh, and did we mention he’s 5-9 and 180 pounds?

Like defending AL MVP Jose Altuve, Betts proves every day that big things sometimes come in small packages.

Along with two-time MVP Mike Trout of the Angels, Markus Lynn Betts is the only man in the majors with double digits in both home runs and stolen bases so far this spring.

You betcha: Mookie Betts has lots to smile about

When he scored his 50th run against Atlanta Friday, Betts became the first member of the Sox to touch the plate that often since Ted Williams (51) and Vern Stephens (52) in 1950.

He’s best at home, where he leads both leagues in batting average, slugging, and on-base plus slugging in his own ballpark.

Instead of changing Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street, the city should have named it Betts Boulevard.

At 25, his future is unlimited.

Thanks mainly to the multi-talented rightfielder, Boston owns the best record in the majors (34-16 entering play Saturday) and has won five of its last six. The team has also owned the Braves, with a 25-9 record against the National League East leaders since 2005.

The value of this Mookie Betts card keeps going up

Power is the primary reason: this year’s Red Sox hit more home runs in their first 50 games than any previous edition – even those spearheaded by Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, or Carl Yastrzemski.

Sox sluggers showed Friday night that they have mastered the art of lofting the ball over the Green Monster, which looks like a formidable barrier despite its proximity to home plate.

The signing of Martinez, a much-coveted free agent, and the batting of Betts have helped Boston win at least 34 of its first 50 games for the sixth time in its 118-year history. The team won the American League pennant in three of those first five years.

Three of the last five teams to win at least 34 of their first 50 have gone on to become world champions: the 2017 Astros, 2016 Cubs, and 2007 Red Sox.

Leaning on their big bats and band-box ballpark, the Sox are seeking their ninth world title and 14th pennant. They won the AL East crown last year but did not advance past the first round.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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