Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, the Boston Red Sox were without star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr, who is currently on paternity leave for the birth of his first child. One of the biggest stories of the 2016 MLB season thus far has been the incredible offensive numbers put up by Bradley Jr. But, Mookie Betts created another big story on Tuesday night with an incredible offensive performance of his own during JBJ’s absence.
In front of a crowd that was no more than half capacity, Mookie Betts slammed three home runs on Tuesday, guiding the Sox to a 6-2 victory over the O’s. Betts also made one heck of a diving catch out in right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to rob Baltimore’s Paul Janish of a hit. Betts led off the game with a solo home run, followed by a back-to-back solo shot from second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Betts belted a three-run blast in the top of the second inning to give Boston a 5-0 lead and then proceeded to give the Sox some insurance in the top of the seventh with another solo blast to make it a 6-2 game.
— All Things Red Sox (@AllThingsSox) June 1, 2016
— Alan Paine (@AlanP1975) June 1, 2016
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 1, 2016
Along with the incredible performance by Betts, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts also extended his hitting streak to 24 games on Tuesday, just six away from surpassing Jackie Bradley Jr’s 29-gamer from earlier in the season.
The way this Boston Red Sox offense is producing right now is absolutely incredible. Every game it seems like they are jumping out to a one or two-run lead in the top of the first inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts have turned into an incredible tandem both at the plate and in the outfield, and the Red Sox still have this guy named David Ortiz (arguably the most clutch hitter in the history of baseball). The one weakness for the Red Sox in 2016 has been their pitching (Clay Buchholtz), but with the way that their bats have exploded, Buchholtz’s horrendous outings and David Price underperforming to begin the season has not come back to bite John Farrell’s club.
Don’t place your bets just yet, but, it’s hard to not consider the Boston Red Sox as the odds on favorite at this point to win the American League Pennant and meet up with either the Giants, Mets, or Cubs in the World Series. There are certainly several American League teams that appear to have the capabilities to give Boston trouble in October (Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners). But, that’s assuming that Texas can keep Yu Darvish’s arm healthy, the Mariners can keep key pieces to their offense off the DL (Leonys Martin, Ketel Marte), and the Blue Jays are able to bounce back from their miserable start to the season.
No matter who Boston faces in the postseason, they will have David Price going every fifth day and their offense is going to bring it every given night. Pound for pound, the Toronto Blue Jays would likely have the best chance of defeating the Red Sox in a seven-game series due to their high-powered offense and strong pitching staff (Stroman, Dickey, Estrada). However, for now, let’s just sit back and watch the Red Sox continue to rake at the plate. We’ll talk about a potential Red Sox/Blue Jays ALCS in September when we have a clearer picture of the which teams are going to get into the dance.