John Farrell: Starting Xander Bogaerts ‘something that’s being considered’
|10.17.13 at 1:38 am ET|
DETROIT — Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested that, in the aftermath of his team’s 7-3 loss to the Tigers in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, he was considering the possibility of having Xander Bogaerts start in place of either third baseman Will Middlebrooks or shortstop Stephen Drew. Bogaerts, who entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base after Middlebrooks was replaced by pinch-hitter Mike Carp, who launched a ground-rule double to right against Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit.
Drew was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He’s now 1-for-14 in the series. Middlebrooks was 0-for-2 with a pair of whiffs, and he’s now 1-for-10 in the ALCS.
“Haven’t made a decision on [Thursday’s] lineup,” Farrell said after the game of the possibility of having Bogaerts start in Game 5. “But given the way the left side of the infield, we’re struggling a little bit to get production out of that side. So it’s something that’s being considered, for sure.”
While Farrell contemplates that change, he did note that the Red Sox lineup created more opportunities in Wednesday’s loss than it had in the prior games in the series — even if it proved unable to capitalize on them. That being the case, Farrell said there is value in maintaining stability.
“We had 12 hits tonight. And you leave 10 men on base. The one thing when we’ve been in stretches like this, we continually do a very good job of creating opportunities. We did that tonight. We haven’t done it so much in the first three games. But that’s a tip of the hat to the pitching that we’ve been facing,” said Farrell. “The one thing that we’ve maintained is a constant approach with the lineup and not creating further uncertainty. And I think our guys have responded well to that.”
Bogaerts, who at 21 became the youngest Red Sox player ever to collect a postseason hit, said that he would be ready and eager for a chance to play if it is presented to him.
“I haven’t heard anything about [starting in Game 5] yet. We’ll see tomorrow. That’s what you want. You want to play as many games as possible to help your teammates. I’ll leave the decision to them. If I’m in, I’m in. If I’m not, I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “During games, sometimes I sit down and visualize myself hitting balls opposite field, home runs, stuff like that. I came into BP and tried to hit a home run to right field today, but I couldn’t. I just visualize myself hitting balls out of the park but to right field and I almost did.
“It’s all about opportunities,” he added. “You never know what can happen once you get an opportunity. It’s crazy how this game is, so we’ll see [Thursday].”
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