Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weekly Red Sox Hitter Notes: June 24th

Now healthy, Mookie Betts has been on a tear lately, and nearly hit for the cycle Sunday.
By Adam Lowenstein (@StatsAdam)

The Red Sox continued their success against the Kansas City Royals, taking two of three games from them in the first 2015 series between the last two American League champions. It was nice for Sox fans to see that performance, which included three Boston home runs on Sunday, after the Red Sox went 6-1 against the Royals last season.

CF Mookie Betts, who was a single shy of the cycle on Sunday, matched his career-best hitting streak with his ninth consecutive game in which he has registered a hit. During the streak, he has 20 hits in 36 at-bats, and he had home runs on both Saturday and Sunday. In June 19’s 7-3 victory over the Royals, Betts had his first career four-hit game. It definitely looks like that back injury is behind him.

Utility Man Brock Holt extended his career-best 16-game on-base streak on Sunday. During the streak, he has accumulated 24 hits and 11 walks in 73 plate appearances. In addition, during the streak, he put up a season-high six-game hit streak. The fourth game of the hit streak (the 9-4 Red Sox victory on June 16 against the Atlanta Braves) was highlighted by Holt’s hitting for the cycle, the first for a Major League Baseball player this season and the first for a Red Sox player since John Valentin in 1996. Betts and Alejandro De Aza also tripled in that contest, making it the first time a Red Sox team tripled three times in a game since 1985.

2B Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup on Saturday in Kansas City after missing some time due to left knee soreness. However, he made it back-to-back 0-for-5 games. On the bright side, Petey was an on-base machine in June, and that included his 3-for-5 day on Sunday. In addition, he has not committed an error this month after having five in his first 50 games of the season. It still may be difficult to get that third consecutive gold glove though: his defensive WAR is near zero in 2015 and could end up being the worst for him in a single season.

DH David Ortiz, who said last week that he will not waive his no-trade clause, seems to be putting his 2015 season together, as he slugged his 10th home run of the year on Sunday. He has now registered a hit in each of his last 11 starts, which is a season high for the 39-year-old. On Saturday he was ejected for the second time this season. His ejection in the contest also marked the 100th one of the MLB season. Big Papi, who has been a much better hitter at Fenway Park than on the road this season, will look to continue his streak when the Red Sox return home for their current mid-week series against the Baltimore Orioles.

LF Hanley Ramirez, who has preferred day games this season, kicked off the scoring for the Red Sox in Sunday’s victory with a solo home run in the second inning. Before this season, he has been much better during night games, so we will have to see how he does as the 2015 sample size increases.

3B Pablo Sandoval, the man who has never lost a playoff series, seems to be the first player in league history to be benched for liking Instagram photos during a game. Then, in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Royals, he committed his 10th error of the season. In addition, he went 0-for-3 that evening and saw just nine pitches, as he left the game due to a sprained left ankle that forced him out of the lineup on Sunday. However, he did post a 1.229 OPS during his season-best nine-game hitting streak from June 10 to 19.

1B Mike Napoli finished the Braves series on a strong note after going four games with seven strikeouts and no hits. He then began the Royals series with a 2-for-3 night, but went 0-for-3 on Saturday and 0-for-5 on Sunday. In addition, by going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the rubber game of the series with the Royals, Napoli is now 11-for-60 this season in that situation. The former All-Star is on pace for his worst single-season batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS+.

RF/LF Alejandro De Aza tripled on Saturday, giving him two three-baggers within four games. However, he was hitless in five at-bats and struck out three times on Sunday, as his short-lasting hitting streak ended at four games.

C Blake Swihart suffered a sprained left foot on Saturday, forcing him to leave early and sit out on Sunday. However, he has reached base in each of his last 10 starts. On Friday and Saturday, he put together back-to-back games with two hits for the first time in his first MLB season. If Swihart is out for an extended period of time, Sandy Leon and newly-signed Erik Kratz will take the reins until Ryan Hanigan returns in July.

BN/RF Rusney Castillo has two hits in his last 17 at-bats. We are all thinking the same thing about the Cuban who will turn 28 on July 9. Should I not mention his $72.5 million contract is through 2020? Future with the Los Angeles Dodgers? Or, possibly the Philadelphia Phillies?

For more sports coverage, follow Adam Lowenstein on Twitter at @StatsAdam. Statistics used from

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