|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Sat May 13th, 2017 02:07 am||
|Is Buck Showalter trying to put out the fire between his Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, or is he stoking the flames?
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo says the Orioles skipper had some extremely high praise for Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts when the teams were in the midst of their contentious feud last week.
"Mookie Betts might be the best player in our league," Showalter told Cafardo.
Whether Showalter means all of Major League Baseball, or simply the American League, he's saying Betts may be better than his own star in Manny Machado as well as All-World baseball destroyer Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. And if he thinks Betts is better than Trout, then he thinks he's the best player in the world.
While the suggestion may instantly raise some eyebrows, and ultimately doesn't pass the smell test, Betts has plenty of superlatives due to him. Earlier this season, Betts struck out for the first time in 129 plate appearances dating back to last September. On a related note, he leads all qualified hitters in strikeout percentage.
Even though he has only five home runs so far, after hitting 31 in 2016, he raised this season's batting average to .311 following a 2-for-3 performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. He hit a game-winning home run in the top of the ninth inning, drew a pair of walks, and also hit a double in the game.
Overall, he was Boston's best hitter in the three-game set against the Brewers. He went a combined 7-for-11 with two home runs, three doubles, and four walks while scoring four runs and driving in eight.
Ironically, Betts hasn't had much success against Showalter's Orioles this season, batting only .200 with two extra-base hits in nine games. Showalter likely realizes that's a small sample size, and even if you think Showalter's crazy to overlook Trout, he can't be faulted for recognizing how difficult an out Betts has been.