Bad news in Boston: Red Sox slugger and AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts departed the sixth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Mets with another bout of left side soreness. The incident occurred on Wilmer Flores‘ long sac fly to right field, which was caught by Betts and returned to home plate in an attempt to nail Austin Jackson and preserve the Red Sox’ 3-0 lead.
Instead, Jackson managed to narrowly beat the throw to score the Mets’ first run of the afternoon — inspiring a replay review, which was upheld in the Mets’ favor — while Betts appeared to suffer some kind of oblique injury on the play. He was promptly examined by manager Alex Cora and a team trainer, and was brought off the field before the inning resumed. There’s no word yet on the projected timetable for Betts’ return to the lineup, though he’s expected to undergo further evaluation as the Red Sox suss out the extent of his injury.
The 25-year-old outfielder is approaching the tail end of his best career year to date. Even after an underwhelming day at the plate (0-for-3 with a sac fly and two strikeouts), he’s riding an incredible .337/.431/.619 batting line with 29 home runs, a 1.050 OPS, and 9.2 fWAR across 538 plate appearances. He missed two weeks of playing time this summer after rehabbing a left abdominal strain, but has been remarkably healthy during the second half of the year and appeared to be a strong contender for the AL MVP award this fall.
Following Betts’ exit in the sixth, Jackie Bradley Jr. shifted from center to right field while rookie Tzu-Wei Lin was brought in as a center field replacement. Lin posted remarkable numbers at Triple-A Pawtucket this season, but he’s struggled to find his footing at the major-league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .191/.269/.234 with two extra-base hits and a .503 OPS through 52 PA.