Thursday, April 26, 2018

Game 23: Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (April 25, 2018)

Mookie Betts. What else do I have to say?

For the third time this season, Mookie led off the top of the first inning and launched a solo home run into the stands to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. The Jays would tie it up quickly in the bottom of the inning, but Brock Holt gave the Sox the lead back with his RBI double in the fifth inning. After giving up a run in the fifth and again in the sixth, the Blue Jays were back on top and it was starting to look like a repeat of the previous night where the Sox clawed their way back before giving the lead right back. However, the man who started it all for the Sox came through in the top of the seventh, belting a two-run homer to give the Sox a 4-3 lead which they held on to for the win. Eduardo Rodriguez ran his record to 3-0 by pitching 6.2 innings with three strikeouts and a walk, although he did give up those three earned runs. It wasn't the greatest pitching line by any stretch, but it got the job done. Heath Hembree and Joe Kelly combined to keep the Jays off the board after Rodriguez left and Craig Kimbrel atoned for his blown save the previous night by picking up this one. With the win, the Sox end their three-game skid and head into the series finale with Chris Sale on the mound. There's also been some rumors that Xander Bogaerts may be back after the weekend. If that's the case, this lineup should get even better once he's back into his rhythm.

As for Mookie, what can you say? Two of my daughters had softball games last night (and I was coaching one of them), so I missed most of the game but I was getting all of the updates and highlights on my phone. When Mookie hit his first home run, I was excited but when he hit the second one I just shook my head. He's just an absolute pleasure to watch and root for and he's truly a five-tool player. It's not just his hitting that is so special, but his fielding and everything else he does. In 2016, Mookie and Mike Trout ran neck and neck all season in the MVP race and while Trout deserved to win it, so did Mookie. Both had down years last year (Trout due to injury, Mookie just slumped a bit), but both look to be rebounding very strongly in 2018. I'm hoping Mookie can keep it going all season because if he can, it will be a huge lift for the Sox as they fight off the Yankees for the division.

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