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In One Of The Most Savage Performances I've Ever Seen, Mookie Betts Goes Deep Three Times As The Red Sox Blow Out The Yankees Again

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox

Coming into this series, I had the Red Sox splitting…losing the first two. But they’ve won the first two…so now…does that mean? What I think it means?

Mookie Betts has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since mid-June, but he’s needed to get red hot for a month and a half just to get back to the region of numbers where you’d expect a reigning MVP to be at. There were some groans and complaints when Betts was elected to the All Star team this year, and while the complaints were valid, we’re still talking about an All Star caliber player who wasn’t yet having an All Star season. He is now.

On June 15, Betts was hitting .260 with an .828 OPS. That’s not bad by any means, but it’s not anywhere near the .346 batting average and 1.046 OPS that Betts had last year, winning a batting title along the way for his troubles. You know what is near that? His performance since that date, as the right fielder is hitting .345 with a 1.059 OPS in 33 games, almost identical to the numbers he put up all of last season.

I suppose that just goes to show you how hard it is to be as good as Mookie was last year. We’re taking this 33-game sample and calling it a “hot streak” when that was literally his entire season in 2018. Just one big baseball-destroying hot streak from Opening Day through the end of the regular season.

Coming into play on Friday night, Betts hadn’t had an OPS over .900 since May 12. With an OPS of .874, it would take some kind of Herculean effort to get that sucker over .900 in one night. Then again, this is Mookie Betts we’re talking about. The four-time All Star started off the game with three homers in three at-bats by the fourth inning. Yeah. Before James Paxton could even figure out where the fuck he was, it was already 7-0 Red Sox. Betts added an RBI double in the sixth for good measure.

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That’s the worst Twitter video caption of all-time, by the way. Clean it up, Red Sox.

After his third homer, the Red Sox had built an early seven-run lead, but Mookie had a little help from his friends. JD Martinez followed up Betts’ first home run with a two-run shot of his own in the first, and then tagged an RBI triple in the third after Mookie’s second homer. The two combined to go 6-for-9 with 8 RBI and five of their six hits going for extra bases. Rafael Devers had a quiet three-hit night with two doubles. Ho hum, just another day for one of the most under appreciated talents in this league.

Back to Mookie for a second, though — he’s 26 years old and this was already his fifth three-homer game. The record is six. I think he’s got a shot. The crazy part about Betts’ road to reaching a .900 OPS is that he did it without hitting very many home runs. In the month of July, including the three-homer game on Friday, Betts has homered five times compared to doubling 10 times. His 1.175 OPS this month is fifth in the majors and his .395 batting average is second to only Yuli Gurriel (.407).

At the top of the blog, I mentioned how I thought the Red Sox would lose the first two and split the series. That’s because of Rick Porcello and Andrew Cashner. Porcello surprised us all with a gutsy performance on Thursday, and then Cashner came out and did the same thing, perhaps with a little less stress than Porcello’s night. The right-hander came to Boston from Baltimore and immediately starting talking about how excited he was to compete against the Yankees. Six and two thirds, three runs, one walk, six strikeouts. He scattered ten hits, but was never really in serious danger in this one. A tip of the cap to you, my good sir.

The Red Sox are now in a position to take a third straight game from the Yankees in this series with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound against CC Sabathia. For those keeping score at home, the Red Sox are 16-5 in games that Rodriguez has started this year, and the left-hander has a 1.76 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 30.2 innings over his last five starts, one of those being against the Yankees. Sabathia is coming off a start in which he allowed six earned runs and four bombs in four innings.

Some quick notes here: The Red Sox are hitting .328 with a .969 OPS against the Yankees this year, the highest offensive marks by any team against the Savages In The Box. Believe it or not, the Red Sox are actually outscoring the Yankees 65-64 this season, despite the 3-6 record.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear — it’s entirely possible that the Yankees go on to win the division. If they do, they know that they don’t want to see the Red Sox in October. Whether the Yankees win the division by one game or 20 games, they don’t want Boston no matter how loud those chants get.

The numbers don’t lie. Red Sox hitters’ eyes light up like a Christmas tree when they see the Yankees’ pitching. Kind of hard to use your division lead as an intimidation factor when your pitchers are getting taken to the woodshed by the Red Sox on a regular basis. That’s five straight games the Red Sox have scored at least eight runs against the Yankees, as they’re currently being outscored 29-8 in this series.

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Final score: Red Sox 10, Yankees 5