Mookie Betts has already made history. He’ll have a chance at even more of it Thursday night.
Betts tied the MLB record for home runs in a two-game span by hitting five against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday and Wednesday. Unlike Bryce Harper, the last player to accomplish the feat, Betts doesn’t have the typical slugger’s physique; he’s listed at 5’9” and 180 pounds.
Even so, it’s safe to consider the 23-year-old a legitimate power bat.
“He is,” Rob Bradford of WEEI told me on this week’s episode of At the Letters. “I told Mookie this before: if you’re teaching a kid about leading hips first on a swing, he is the be-all end-all of how you get your power from the middle of your body, even before you bring your hands through. All of that factors in. You’ll see that he’s a guy who can hit a ball 500 feet.”
That power was on display Tuesday, when each of Betts’ three homers went to a different part of Camden Yards.
“He hit the ball to all fields,” Bradford said. “I thought Xander Bogaerts was interesting after the game, because Xander says ‘he’s one of the few guys who when he comes up I actually expect that he’s going to hit a home run.’ I can understand that with David Ortiz, but at 5’9” and 180 pounds you’re saying he’s going to hit a home run every time out?”
Betts became the first big league player to homer in each of the first two innings of consecutive games. He also became the first Red Sox leadoff hitter ever to homer three times in a game.
With two more home runs Thursday, Betts would tie the all-time record for home runs in a three-game span: seven, set by Shawn Green in May of 2002. Ubaldo Jimenez, who has allowed five home runs in 10 starts this year, gets the unenviable assignment of keeping Betts in the park Thursday.
Players with five home runs in two games
|Carl Yastrzemski||Red Sox||1976|
|Nomar Garciaparra||Red Sox||2002|
|Mookie Betts||Red Sox||2016|