While this season can’t end soon enough for the Red Sox, Boston’s future was on display for at least one night in September.
The Red Sox downed the New York Yankees 9-4 on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Boston’s offense was powered by three players whom the organization has high hopes for in 2015 and beyond.
Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Yoenis Cespedes offered the latest sign that the future is bright for the Red Sox despite their disappointing 2014 season. The trio combined to go 10-for-15 with two homers, two doubles, a triple, four RBIs and five runs scored. They combined for 20 total bases on what was a very productive night for the Red Sox’s offense.
Bogaerts led the way with the first four-hit performance of his young career. The 21-year-old launched his ninth home run of the season — a drive that carried out to right-center field — in Boston’s four-run third inning. He added another RBI in the ninth and has two multihit efforts in four games since returning from the seven-day concussion disabled list Saturday.
“Just looking back to see what he’s done since he’s returned to us, it looks like a few days down has kind of rejuvenated him some,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the win. “He’s hitting with some confidence right now and multiple hits again tonight, as was the case down in Tampa (over the weekend). It’s good to see him bounce back and get on a little bit of a run here.”
Betts ripped his fourth career home run in the fourth inning, extending Boston’s lead to 7-1 at the time. After leading off Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Betts batted out of the No. 2 spot in Boston’s order with Dustin Pedroia still sidelined with a concussion. It looks like Betts might stay up near the top of order, as he’s been excellent since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last month.
The 21-year-old finished the game 3-for-4, showing an ability to use all fields in the process. He’s hitting .368 (14-for-38) with three homers, three doubles, eight RBIs and three stolen bases over his last eight games. He’s produced at least two hits in three straight contests.
Betts also made a very nice catch in deep right-center field in the bottom of the fourth inning, banging into the wall after leaping into the air on the warning track.
“That’s the fun part, getting those opportunities,” Betts said of his grab, the latest indication he’s growing more comfortable with each start in the outfield. “So when those opportunities happen, I make sure I try and take advantage of it and go make those catches.”
Cespedes, a three-year major league veteran, is more of a known commodity than either Bogaerts or Betts. But the 28-year-old outfielder continues to show why the Red Sox opted to pursue him rather than prospects when trading pitcher Jon Lester. Cespedes has been a run-producing machine since joining the Red Sox at the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, hitting .400 (14-for-35) with three homers, three doubles, 22 RBIs and a .743 slugging percentage with runners in scoring position since his Boston debut.
Cespedes went 3-for-5 in Tuesday’s win. His most impressive contribution came in the ninth inning, when he showed incredible acceleration around second base en route to a triple on a fly ball into the right field corner.
Tuesday’s win moved the Red Sox to within 16 games of .500 (61-77), a crazy reality for a team that started the season with World Series aspirations. But the victory also showed a return to prominence is not out of the question for 2015, especially if three potential franchise cornerstones elevate their game for a full season.