Mookie's month: Outfielder finishes on tear
Hits two homers help Sox spoil Yanks' clinch party
NEW YORK -- The best month in the young career of Mookie Betts ended on Wednesday night with some powerful demonstrations of why the outfielder projects as an impact player for the Red Sox for years to come.
When Betts is in a groove, it doesn't matter who the opposing pitcher is. His hands are that quick. He is that athletic.
In Wednesday's 9-5, 11-inning victory over the Yankees, Betts clocked two homers -- the first one an equalizer and the second an insurance blast that gave the bullpen some breathing room.
That capped a marvelous September for Betts in which he hit .389 with 42 hits, 12 doubles, five homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.085 OPS.
"It's hard to believe that 160 pounds can generate that type of bat speed and that torque on a baseball, but he does and there's some strength in there," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "There's a balanced swing and he's not missing his pitch right now."
It was the game-tying shot against Dellin Betances in the seventh that was most impressive.
Betances is nasty. Even Betts realizes this.
Still, the right-handed hitter got ahead in the count at 2-0 and then launched a 96-mph heater into the Boston bullpen in left-center. It was a certifiable missile, leaving the bat at an exit velocity of 105 mph and traveling a projected distance of 427 feet, according to Statcast™.
"It's just like the second time I've ever put it in play against him, so I think that was what I was happy about," said Betts.
Indeed, Betts was 1-for-4 against Betances with three strikeouts before the homer.
Four innings later, Betts unloaded for a two-run shot that Statcast™ projected to go 410 feet. It was No. 18 on the season for Betts, who is primarily a leadoff man.
As it turns out, there was some superstition involved in the two-homer night by Betts.
"Me and Blake [Swihart], when we went out to eat, we had a pizza left and he said the night before he had given it to a homeless guy and he hit two home runs [on Tuesday], so I had a pizza and I gave it to a homeless guy and hit two home runs. So maybe now we pass it onto the next person," said Betts.