Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts, John Farrell can feel the worm beginning to turn back in his favor

Mike Petraglia
April 20, 2015 - 7:08 pm

Little by little, Mookie Betts can feel things turning back in his direction. And so, too, can his manager. Statistically, it was a pretty rough first homestand for the young outfielder, collecting five hits in 25 official at-bats. This after he started like a house on fire in both the season opener and the home openers. Betts homered in Philadelphia on April 6 and against the Nationals on April 13. On Monday against the Orioles, he singled to right field in his first at-bat. The impact on the rest of the team was immediate and positive. He stole second, advanced to third on a Ryan Lavarnway bad throw and scored on a David Ortiz sacrifice fly to right. His run, unearned, was what the Red Sox envisioned when they put him at the top of the order. "It's good. I feel like it's not just the top," Betts said. "A couple of games ago, it was the bottom that scored the runs. There's no difference between the top and the bottom. It's just a matter of who does it on any given day." On Sunday, he drove a ball hard to deep right field, only to have it caught just shy of the warning track. The balls to the opposite field are always a good sign but especially so when you consider teams have made an adjustment after getting burned on fastballs inside to Betts. On Sunday and Monday, it appeared Betts was the one making the adjustment. "The last couple of days, Mookie's swings have been a little bit more spring training-like in that there's more rhythm at the plate," Farrell noted. "He was getting pitched to for a couple or three games in a row where he might have been guessing a little bit, chasing some breaking balls out of the strike zone. "He was more fluid. You could see the rhythm in his hands, much more free and easy. That usually results in better bat speed and better swings on his part." As Betts' average was plummeting below the Mendoza line of .200 (falling to a low of .191 after an 0-for-4 Sunday), Farrell insisted on Saturday, when he gave Betts the day off, he had no concerns about his average. The early-season confidence Farrell showed in Betts is paying dividends, at least in Betts' approach at the plate. "I felt like this for a while, hit some balls hard," Betts said. "That's pretty much my only concern now is just continuing to hit them hard and hopefully they fall."