Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/19/14
Here comes the part where we all make a joke — something along the lines of, “Hey, why can’t the Red Sox get players like that?” Adrian Beltre turned in a monster game against the Red Sox on Friday. He went 4-for-5 and delivered a bases-clearing double that broke the game open in the fourth inning. It’s exactly the type of performance that can bust a veteran out of a prolonged slump, and if that happens with Beltre, the Rangers could become even more dangerous. Meanwhile, Boston’s third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, went 0-for-3 and committed an error, continuing what has been a difficult start to the season. Round 1 clearly went to Beltre, but both third basemen can turn to each other as a source of inspiration throughout this series. Beltre entered Friday’s game in the midst of a horrendous stretch. He was 4-for-31 (.129) over his last eight games, 2-for-20 (.100) over his last five, and he made some crucial outs in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the White Sox on Thursday. The groans in Arlington were beginning to grow louder and louder, and it was somewhat reasonable to wonder whether the 34-year-old might be in line for a season-long setback in a lineup that lost plenty of offensive firepower — Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young — during the offseason. With all of that considered, a marginal performance out of Beltre would have been an encouraging sign, never mind an offensive clinic like Friday’s. “Beltre has got a track record, and the guys in my lineup have got a track record,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Friday’s game. “Beltre is a run producer, there wasn’t anyone more upset about it than Beltre. But I’m happy that he said he’s not frustrated because when you get frustrated you go blind. And undoubtedly, tonight he wasn’t blind.” Beltre must now ensure Friday’s performance wasn’t a fluke, though. May has historically been Beltre’s worst month — lowest batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS — so he must build on his big game and generate momentum, rather than expect it to come simply because he put together a solid four-at-bat stretch against Felix Doubront and Alex Wilson. If Beltre is looking for some added motivation in his quest to right his ship, he need not look any further than across field. Middlebrooks put together a four-hit performance of his own back on April 7. (In fact, Middlebrooks’ four-hit effort was even more impressive, as he launched three home runs while guiding the Red Sox to a 13-0 victory over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.) Since then, however, Middlebrooks has struggled mightily. He began to make some strides during the Red Sox’ final series of their recent 10-game homestand, but he’s made a couple of errors the last few nights, he’s 2-for-15 since heading back out on the road, and his season average is down to .193. There’s a huge difference between Beltre and Middlebrooks, obviously. (One has been an All-Star each of the last three seasons, while the other is a 24-year-old still developing.) However, the considerable drop-off that Middlebrooks experienced following his “breakout performance” earlier this season can still serve as a cautionary tale for any major leaguer looking to build off a big game. And just as Beltre can look to Middlebrooks’ slump as motivation for stringing together consecutive big games, Middlebrooks can also turn to the veteran as a little source of inspiration. Beltre is one of Middlebrooks’ Boston predecessors, and no one in their current position of employment wants to hear how good the old guy used to be, right? Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

FSU’s Egan reported Williams girlfriend's Facebook to cops

Cowboys VP: Tony Romo “very questionable” for Week 9

Report: Warriors sign Klay Thompson to $70M extension

Cubs oust manager Renteria, setting stage for Maddon

Officially official: Michigan AD Dave Brandon has resigned

RG3 won't 'try to be a normal quarterback' on Sunday

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant, Joseph Randle reportedly argue before practice

DeAngelo Hall re-tore Achilles tendon while making pizza

Madison Bumgarner was once roommates with Russell Wilson

Wild's Vanek linked to alleged money laundering scheme

Jets fans start 'Fire John Idzik' website

Report: McDonald unlikely to be charged with domestic violence

Carlos Boozer shows up to arena in Halloween costume

Auburn at Ole Miss: Five things you need to know

WATCH: Goran Dragic punks Suns teammates with baby dino

WATCH: Johnny Manziel cusses out referees at Cavs opener

Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons are 'Run DMC'

Analysis: Alex Gordon wouldn't have scored on Game 7 error

Game of the week: Broncos vs. Patriots

November games that will shape the College Football Playoff

WATCH: Flyers equip. manager pulls prank with fake snake

Simi Valley team recreates Sandlot photo for Halloween

Ranking the Top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL

WATCH: Vanilla Ice rocked the halftime show at T'Wolves game

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Game of the week: Broncos vs. Patriots

Baseball team recreates Sandlot pic

Top 10 QBs in the NFL

McDonald unlikely to face D.V. charge

Welker feels like 'weak link' in offense

Cavs intro for LeBron was wild

Greg Hardy won't play this season

Michael Jordan rips Obama's golf game

Torii Hunter in radio ad opposing gay marriage

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.