2013 ALDS: Why Is Boston Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts On the Bench Again?

Xander Bogaerts

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Xander Bogaerts has been a natural fit to start a couple times in this ALDS, but Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has not pulled the trigger. In Game 2, with left-handed pitcher David Price on the mound, the left-handed hitting Stephen Drew got the start at short.

Drew did go 1-for-4 that day with an RBI, but traditional wisdom would have had Bogaerts in the game.  On Tuesday night, with Jeremy Hellickson on the hill, Bogaerts was again on the bench and Will Middlebrooks got the start.  Middlebrooks was just 2-for-10 in this series, and 1-for-12 in his career against Hellickson, but he got the start ahead of Bogaerts.

One reason Bogaerts is not in the game is Hellickson’s change-up.  Bogaerts has not had much success in his young career against a same-handed change, and that is Hellickson’s best pitch.  Now, it is just batting practice, but Alex Spieir of WEEI tweeted that Middlebrooks hit a ball off one of the banners hanging on the back wall of the stadium in insanely deep left, so he is at least geared up and ready to go.

In Wednesday’s game, Drew came up in the eighth inning to face flame throwing lefty Jake McGee, and again Farrell left Bogaerts on the bench. Bogaerts does not have a plate appearance yet this postseason, but did score a run in pinch-running duties.

Time will tell if Bogaerts will get an at-bat in this series, but if he does not, his inclusion on the postseason roster becomes an odd decision. Postseason rosters are often filled with players serving one specific role, and Bogaerts was chosen over defensive specialist John McDonald. It is time for Farrell to let him make his presence felt.

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