Red Sox

Here's why Mookie Betts didn't get an at-bat in 2019 MLB All-Star Game

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USA TODAY Sports

Here's why Mookie Betts didn't get an at-bat in 2019 MLB All-Star Game

Mookie Betts was the only one of the three Boston Red Sox players in Tuesday night's 2019 MLB All-Star Game who didn't get an at-bat, and it turns out it was by design.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was leading the American League squad, explained why the reigning league MVP didn't come to the plate.

"There were other guys that we wanted to play," Cora told reporters after the AL's 4-3 win over the National League at Progressive Field in Cleveland. "There were a lot of first-timers. And we kind of like mapped it out. And he was going to come up in the ninth. It just happened that we won the game."

Betts was making his fourth All-Star appearance and likely will earn more of them before his career concludes. Therefore, it was a classy gesture by Betts and Cora to allow first-time All-Stars, some of whom might never reach that stage again, to make the most of their opportunity.

Betts was named to the AL team as a reserve. He played right field in the eighth and ninth innings.

The other two Red Sox All-Stars were J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts. Martinez started at DH and went 0-for-2 at the plate, while Bogaerts played shortstop and failed to tally a hit in his only at-bat.

The AL's victory extended its win streak over the NL to seven games.

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Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez's career year at the plate continued Sunday, hitting his first career grand slam against the Phillies. 

It was also the 20th home run of the year for the fifth-year catcher, blowing away his former career-high in home runs (five in 2017).

Vazquez holds career highs in virtually every offensive category, which has earned him the regular starting job behind the plate as opposed to sharing time with Sandy Leon. 

His resurgence has also helped the Red Sox maintain an elite level of production offensively from last year's dominant World Series run.  Unfortunately subpar pitching will keep the team from returning to the playoffs, but if Vazquez can build off this season there's no reason to believe this lineup can't continue into 2020.

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Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

After another superb outing against the Phillies Saturday night, Eduardo Rodriguez earned high praise from his manager Alex Cora. 

"He’s throwing like an ace," Cora said on NESN postgame. "We’re very happy with the progress. The fact that it’s Sept. 14, 15, and he’s as strong as early in the season. That’s good to see.”

Rodriguez didn't secure his 18th win of the year thanks to a seventh-inning walk with the bases loaded, but that doesn't take away from a 12-strikeout performance.

Rodriguez now has a 3.64 ERA in over 185 innings pitched. The Sox need Rodriguez to come into his own if they hope to stay in contention long term, and he continues to show progress toward reaching his potential. 

Rodriguez still has a chance to get to 20 wins, but he'll have to win each of the three starts he has left in 2019. 

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