It was business as usual this weekend for Mookie Betts and the Red Sox in Toronto. Boston took 2 of 3 and began the work week tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball. Betts did his part to secure the series win Sunday with a spectacular diving catch in right, two hits and a run scored.

Just another day at the office for Betts.

Just like Saturday, when the Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-2 to bounce back from an ugly 12-inning loss Friday night. As the Sox headed to the clubhouse, two players were held up for a few moments. Hanley Ramirez was stopped by NESN to do a postgame interview, while Andrew Benintendi did the same for the WEEI Red Sox radio network.

Betts was left untouched as he grabbed his equipment and headed up the tunnel. Betts went unnoticed while Ramirez and Benintendi were tabbed as the players of the game. All Betts had done was go 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored. The kind of day that would be a highlight of the season for most players.

The kind of day we have come to expect from Betts.

Sunday marked the 26th time in 33 games since April 1 in which Betts scored at least one run. His 42 runs lead the majors this season and are the most by a Sox player through 40 games since at least 1908. It’s exactly what you want to see from the batter at the top of the lineup.


Good leadoff hitters are expected to score a lot of runs. They get on base and let the big sluggers drive them in. They “set the table.”

Of course, Betts does more than that. A lot more. He entered Monday’s game with 13 homers. No “big slugger” had more. He also had the best batting average and slugging percentage in the game. His slugging percentage was 112 points higher than Mike Trout – or any other player in baseball.

Do you prefer advanced metrics? Fine. Betts led all of MLB in runs created and isolated power.

New school, old school, doesn’t matter. Betts has been schooling pitchers since the season began.

We’ve come to expect it. Are we taking it for granted?

Betts is a bonafide superstar. Talk to players and they will mention him as one of the faces of baseball. Talk to scouts and they’ll put him alongside – maybe even ahead of – Mike Trout. And yet, here in Boston, we might not give him enough credit for what he does on a nightly basis.


Betts has hit three homers in a game this season twice. He’s done it four times in his career. That’s more than Ted Williams, or any other player to ever wear a Red Sox uniform.

And he’s only 25.

He’s hit more leadoff homers than anyone in franchise history.

The Boston media jumped on Betts for having a down season in 2017. And he finished sixth in American League MVP voting. It was a disappointing year that cost John Farrell his job as manager. And the Sox won the division.

This is the demanding environment in which Betts has developed, and thrived. A fifth-round selection who was projected to be a middle infielder with 15-20 home run potential, Betts has developed into a Gold Glove outfielder who could lead this team, and perhaps the league, in homers.

Last year, we wanted someone to step in and fill the void left behind by the loss of David Ortiz’s oversized personality. We now know that no one person could do that. The Sox missed his presence desperately and finished last in the league in home runs.


Looking to increase his RBI potential, Farrell tried to move Betts lower in the order. He only started half of Boston’s games in the leadoff spot. Yet he always maintained the top of the order is where he felt most comfortable.

Now, he’s there and he’s setting the tone on a nightly basis.

Shocking starting pitchers with a leadoff home run.

Getting on base multiple times a game.

Scoring more than any other player in the game.

Just quietly doing his business. One of the most unassuming superstars in any sport today, Betts is one of the half-dozen best players in the game yet he doesn’t care if you or I know it or talk about it.

As a team, the Red Sox have found a new personality in 2018. They still don’t have anyone replacing the legendary Big Papi. And that’s fine. The new leader of this team sits at the top of the lineup and does things even Ortiz couldn’t do. And as the Sox wrapped up the first quarter of the season on Sunday, no team in baseball had a better record.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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