Mookie Betts has not had the same kind of MVP season like he did in 2018.
But on Wednesday, Betts certainly put up an MVP night. The Boston Red Sox right fielder went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI in a 6-2 win against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.
The reigning American League MVP sent each of the first two pitches he saw in the game over the Green Monster. On the fourth pitch he faced against Twins starter Jose Berrios, Betts made it a 3-for-3 night. In fact, Betts saw just eight pitches all evening. He sent a screamer to left field to plate another run in the sixth. Brusdar Graterol was the only Twins pitcher to retire Betts, but even that was a hotshot line drive that the pitcher managed to corral.
The aggressive approach made Betts the first leadoff hitter to homer on each of the first two pitches he faced in a game since 2009.
“You just know with Berrios on the mound you start falling behind that’s when bad things happen,” Betts told Guerin Austin after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “You just try to be aggressive. He throws a lot of strikes, and that was just kind of my mindset.
“After the first one I thought it might be an alright night,” he added. “But I like I said, with Berrios on the mound you never know, he keeps them in the game and today we swung the bat well.”
Betts now is tied with Barry Bonds for most multi-home run games from the leadoff spot.
He is batting .289 with 25 home runs and 75 RBI.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins game:
— Eduardo Rodriguez undeniably has been the Red Sox’s most reliable starting pitcher this season.
After seven innings of shutout ball Wednesday, the southpaw is tied for the Major League lead in wins with 17 wins. He now had pitched into at least the seventh inning in three of his last four starts and is 4-0 over that stretch.
“It’s part of the progress, we knew stuff-wise he was up there with the other guys,” manager Alex Cora said, referring to the rest of Boston’s rotation. “I do feel that — fair or not — I was very hard on him in spring training, letting him know that this is what we need from him.
“Potential is great, we know that. That’s great. There are a lot of people that just stay with that and they don’t take the next step. He took the challenge, he made some adjustments and now he is doing what he is doing.”
— Despite Rodriguez’s performance, Boston needed four relievers to record the final six outs.
Ryan Brasier’s struggles continued as he recorded just one out and allowed a two-run home run. Over his last two appearances, Brasier has recorded one inning, allowing eight runs on seven hits. His season ERA is up to 5.40.
— Brock Holt had two hits, continuing his pace.
The second baseman is batting .354 over his last 15 games and had brought his batting average up to .323 on the season.
— While Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez each went hitless, Betts’ performance brought his OPS up to .903, giving Boston’s first four hitters an OPS over .900
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images