Mookie Betts Starting To Really Heat Up At The Plate

By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — After a slow offensive start to the season, Mookie Betts’ stats are starting to reflect the superstar that he is.

Betts’ batting average is up to .304 after a four-hit night against the Brewers on Tuesday night. He launched his fourth home run of the season to lead off the game, and added two doubles and a single with three additional RBIs. His OPS jumped from .791 to .879 with the four-hit game, which you can watch below:

The Red Sox ultimately couldn’t overcome Drew Pomeranz’s poor outing in the Brewers’ 11-7 win, but it wasn’t because of a lack of offense from Betts’ bat. He doubled home Chase d’Arnaud to spark a three-run rally in the top of the fifth inning, then plated two more runs with a line drive double in the top of the eighth.

Betts is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers, five RBIs, and a 1.596 OPS in three games since moving back to the leadoff spot on May 6. After an 0-for-3 game to start the month of May, the right fielder has a massive .367/.424/.733 slash line in his last seven.

Obviously, Betts is more than just a table-setter for the Red Sox. But he appears quite comfortable at the top of the lineup after batting third for most of the season.

[graphiq id=”4621g9buFXn” title=”Mookie Betts 2017 Complete Batting Splits” width=”600″ height=”523″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/4621g9buFXn” frozen=”true”]

Betts still has room to improve even with his current surge; his contact rate (85.7 percent) has taken a slight dip from last season (87.3 percent), according to Fangraphs. But he’s also hitting the ball harder, as his hard contact percentage (36.8 percent) is up from last season’s 33.4 percent.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Betts as a hitter is he’s been harder than ever to strike out. He’s been punched out only nine times in 128 plate appearances, a ridiculous 7 percent rate – markedly lower than his 11.7 percent career strikeout rate.

Andrew Benintendi’s move to the cleanup spot has also been one of the major keys to the Red Sox’ resurgence on offense. But the lineup is going to need Betts to continue producing at an elite level if they want to even approach last year’s production, especially if the pitching continues to falter like it did on Tuesday. He is really heating up and the advanced stats bear out that he’s as tough a hitter as ever.

Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

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