Mookie Betts on the move - on the bases and in the MVP race
'What we learned': Red Sox’ 12-2 win over the Orioles
BOSTON - What we learned from the Red Sox’ 12-2 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
In addition to being their MVP, Mookie Betts is also the Red Sox' best baserunner
On Monday night, for the second time in the last week, Mookie Betts caught an opposing outfielder sleeping -- and made him pay be taking an extra base.
Last week in San Diego, Padres right fielder Oswaldo Arcia was unsure of which base to throw to, so Betts took full advantage, advancing from second to third thanks to Arcia's indecision.
It happened again Monday at Fenway. Baltimore outfielder Steve Pearce, who a rough night in the field, was similarly unsure of himself as Betts appeared to stop at third base.
When Pearce took too long to get the ball back to the infield and finally lazily lobbed a throw to second, Betts again pounced, and stole a run for the Sox.
"I kind of just wait to catch people slipping,' shrugged Betts.
Betts leads the team in steals with 23 -- he's been caught just three times -- but he's also their best and smartest baserunner.
David Ortiz will likely have to settle for No. 17 on the all-time homer list
Ortiz tied Mickey Mantle for career homers with No. 536 Monday night. There's a pretty good chance he'll hit another one in the next 19 games, enabling him to pass Mantle.
But that's likely to be it for Ortiz climbing the ladder. Next up is Mike Schmidt, but Schmidt sits in 16th place, with 548.
Twelve (or, to pass him, 13) more homers in the next 19 games may be too much for even Ortiz.
Then again, back in 2006, Ortiz did hit 12 homers in the span of 19 games, from June 17 through July 7. But that was 10 years ago, when Ortiz was merely 30.
Chris Young has earned a sizable share of playing time in left, even when Andrew Benintendi returns
Benintendi could be activated from the disabled list as early as Wednesday, having made a relatively quick recovery from the knee injury suffered last month at Tropicana Field.
Given the energy and the athelticism Benintendi showed in his first three week in the big leagues, he'll be a welcome addition.
But Benintendi won't completely elbow Chris Young out of the picture -- nor should he.
Young had a four-hit night Monday, and since coming off the DL last month, Young has a 1.151 OPS with three homers and seven RBI in 15 games.
For the season, Young has a .915 OPS.
Young was brought in because of his ability to mash against lefties, and that he's done with a 1.127 OPS. But he's also performed better than expected against righthanders with an .804 OPS. Two-thirds of his homers, too, have come against righties, a reminder that he's more than a platoon outfielder.