The Search For Xander Bogaerts

After a scorching start to the 2016 season, Xander Bogaerts has hit a rut. Though the humidity has run rampant through Boston lately, Bogaerts has experienced a rather cold summer at the plate.

In May and June, Bogaerts looked like a serious MVP candidate, if not a favorite along with BogaertsDavid Ortiz. Bogaerts hit .395 in May and and .324 in June. Also, those two months provided 40 of his 69 RBI this season. During that time, his average reached into the .350s and he was battling Jose Altuve for the league lead in that category. Since then, Xander’s production has plummeted.

Bogaerts Since The All-Star Break

Since Bogaerts was selected to his first All-Star game in San Diego last month, his season has taken a turn for the worse. Since the break, he has batted just .271 and has only four doubles and 13 RBI in 140 at-bats. That has brought his average all the way down to .310. Also, in his last 15 games he is hitting a measly .238 with an  OBP of .269.

In all seriousness, most guys would still love to have the numbers Bogaerts has this year. That is not what I am trying to say. He is still a tremendous talent and among the league’s best shortstops. But during this recent hot streak the Red Sox appar to be on, Xander has not been able to be a major contributor. In high leverage situations he has struggled and has made a habit at lunging at pitches and popping up constantly.

The Red Sox have tried a multitude of methods to try and get Bogaerts back to his former self. He has had a few days off, which he did deserve. The hitting instructors have also worked meticulously with him to fix his swing. So far, we are still waiting on the guy we saw the first half of the season. There is little doubt that his star will shine again, but it remains to be seen whether he will get his swing back in time to help his team make the postseason.

Red Sox Play Purest Form of Baseball vs. Padres

purest form of baseball

These sandlot kids play pure ball, the National League way. Courtesy

Some consider the National League (NL) to be the purest form of baseball. Tonight, the Red Sox play the San Diego Padres, a National League team. The pitchers are part of the lineup in the National League. Since the Padres are in American League (AL) territory, they play the American League way; our way. No pitchers will bat.

I find it important that the Red Sox play teams in the National League. The National League formula is, in a word, innocent. It makes us all nostalgic for the game we played, years ago, in sandlots and Little League. Everyone hits and everyone bats. There is no need to manipulate the lineup with a Designated Hitter, or pitching changes that slow the game down. In the NL, the game is played as it was meant to be played.

That said, I do like American League ball. I think the DH adds something special to the lineup; that player, whether David Ortiz, or others, can make or break games. We saw that to be true in both the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins.

Interleague play shakes things up and gets the players out of their comfort zones. I am sure coaches and players have to study more tape and stats before these interleague games. They simply do not know their opponents that well. Ultimately, it prepares the teams for World Series play. And, as we all know it is never too early to prepare for October baseball.