Betts, Martinez Power Surprising Red Sox

Coming in to the 2018 MLB season, all eyes were on the New York Yankees in anticipation of the new power-hitting tandem of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. However, it looks like the real power in the AL East is coming from the Yankees’ eternal rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Outfielders Mookie Betts  and J.D. Martinez have been powering the Sox in a big way.

Through the first 47 games, no one has been making an impact quite like the pair of outfielders for Boston. The duo are currently tied for first place in HR with 15 a piece, and they’re just getting started. Betts currently has the best batting average in the league with a .365, with Martinez sitting at third in the league with a .343. Furthermore, Betts currently leads the league in runs and Martinez is second in the league for RBIs with 41.

(via ESPN)

To top it off, in May, Betts became the youngest player in Red Sox history to reach four, three-home run games, taking the title from Boston legend Ted Williams.

Betts’ recent streak has caught the attention of the entire league, including his teammates. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogearts took the time to express how he feels when Betts steps up to the plate.

“He’s probably one of the few guys, every time I see him hit, I think he’s going to hit a homer,” said Bogearts. “He’s just that presence that he has in the batter’s box.”

The rivalry between the two teams stands almost as old as the game itself, and that rivalry is certainly shining through in the 2018 season.

In April, the two teams met at Fenway Park in a game which only increased the intensity of the blood-feud. During a routine play to second base, Yankees outfielder Tyler Austin made a questionable slide into second base, clipping the leg of Red Sox shortstop Brock Holt. Both benches cleared but nothing came of the incident other than some run-of-the-mill trash talk.

Fast forward to the seventh inning when Austin was up against Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, Kelly drilled Austin right in the back with a fastball, inciting yet another bench-clearing brawl in the sage of the Red Sox vs. Yankees.

(via Fox Sports)

While this event sparked excitement throughout the baseball world, many players for both teams just chalked it up as a part of the rivalry. Even Holt, who was on the receiving end of Austin’s antics, seemed fairly nonchalant about the whole thing.

“It happened,” he said. “Typical Red Sox-Yankees game – four hours long, and a couple of bench-clearing brawls. We’re right on track here.”

Right on track, indeed. While it is still the first half of the 2018 season, Boston and New York have been doing what they do best, and that means playing competitive, exciting baseball. At the forefront of all of this are Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, who are both looking to lead the Sox into a definitive first place position with no one left wondering who the best hitting duo is in the AL East.

One thing is for certain: as long as Betts and Martinez keep up with these numbers, the rest of the league is just going to be playing catch up.