After going up in the series with a Game 5 victory, the Red Sox now find themselves going back to the drawing board to initiate a more cerebral plan on how they can win Game 6 and finish off the the Redbirds. Boston is now one game away from clinching becoming champions for the third time in the past decade.
Unlike most Red Sox games especially this season, not a lot of positives can be extracted from the offense up to this point. The Sox pitching has been great, but the lineup has been shut down for the most part. But there has been one man who has risen above it all: Xander Bogaerts.
If you haven’t followed the Sox this season, you may be asking the logical question: Who in the world is Bogaerts? Well, he is certainly not a household name, that’s for sure. The 21-year-old was called up in late August after top prospect Jose Iglesias was dealt a month prior. In 18 games played, Bogaerts batted .250 along with one HR, five RBIs and a .320 OBP.
Though he had a slow but steady regular season, Bogaerts has been able to carry his dependable performance over into the playoffs. In 19 postseason at-bats, he has batted .348 along with eight hits (three doubles), two RBIs, six walks and a .467 OBP.
The Arubian sensation has been a fire that no team has been able to extinguish. His great postseason performance has earned him some extra play and ample opportunities to crack the starting lineup. With veteran shortstop Stephen Drew beginning to become a liability at the plate as he is 4-for-50 and has struck out 19 times throughout the entire playoffs, Bogaerts has produced on multiple occasions.
Boston has had many chances to score with runners on base, but the offense has been erratic this postseason. Bogaerts, on the other hand, has provided instant offense. With Drew batting a horrendous .085, there should be more playing time and opportunities coming Bogaerts’ way.
If the Red Sox want to close out this series at home in Boston, then they need to strike early and muster up some offensive production. Leaving runners on base is not the way to win games, and the Red Sox should be the first to know that. Expect to see Bogaerts in the lineup in Game 6, as he has not only been one of the more reliable producers offensively, but is capable of holding his own defensively.