Extra Bases

Bogaerts' Bat has Been the Shining Light in Dark Week for the Red Sox

Let's put this out there right now: after losing six straight to fall to a season-low five games under .500, there's not much to like about how the Red Sox are playing right now. Their offense is a disaster; they can't hit with runners in scoring position; and their starting pitching, which once was a positive, has given them little to feel good about over the past week.

That being said, one bright spot for the team has been the hitting of Xander Bogaerts. The 21-year-old rookie is in his first full season in the majors after coming up late last year and was in the starting lineup for the World Series.

Slated to be the starting shortstop this season, Bogaerts' play in the field has been spotty at best. He has shown he still has considerable growing to do in the field, and in 161 total chances this year has six errors, two behind Yunel Escobar and Brad Miller for the most in the American League.

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There were also worries that once the deal to bring back Stephen Drew was announced, shifting Bogaerts back to third base, it would have an adverse effect on his play, and it appeared it did, as only a few hours after the news came out on May 20, Bogaerts made two errors in a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays.

But if anyone thought that his problems in the field would affect his bat, he's shown the exact opposite. In the past week Bogaerts has been the most consistent hitter on the Red Sox, hitting .440 in seven games dating back to last Thursday with a .500 OBP, including two walks, a HBP, three doubles, a home run, and three RBIs in 28 plate appearances.

Only once in that span has he failed to get a hit in a game -- on Friday when the Red Sox fell to the Tigers 1-0. Just as impressive as his hitting numbers, of the 14 times he has failed to reach base, only twice has he struck out.

When Drew returns to the Red Sox infield and Bogaerts moves to third, expect his strong hitting to continue, as Bogaerts will be able to relax more with less defensive responsibilities and focus on developing as a young star, who we sometimes forget only seven months ago surpassed the U.S. legal drinking age.