Xander Bogaerts learns yet another valuable (and painful) lesson
|07.23.14 at 10:48 pm ET|
TORONTO — Every once in a while, you get a reminder that Xander Bogaerts is 21 years old. Wednesday night was one of those occasions.
The talent of Bogaerts was on display in the fifth inning when he doubled in Daniel Nava for what was at the time the go-ahead run for the Red Sox. After that, youth won over … and not in a good way for the third baseman or his team.
With two outs in the sixth inning and the Blue Jays having already tied things up at 4-4, Jose Reyes hit a routine grounder that Bogaerts was forced to take a few steps to his left on before gobbling up. With the speedy Reyes running, Bogaerts immediately transferred the ball to his throwing hand and fired it to first baseman Mike Napoli.
The problem came as soon as Bogaerts released the ball, as he pulled it just enough to make it a one-hopper that Napoli couldn’t stretch and gather in. The result was the go-ahead run scoring and the Blue Jays taking the lead for good instead of the teams heading into the seventh all knotted up.
“It was a ball in the dirt. Just tried to pick it. I’m pretty good at picking balls and didn’t come up with it,” Napoli said, adding, “I was kind of falling over a little bit. it’s a play I’ve made in the past and I expect to make and I didn’t make the play.”
Another sign of Bogaerts’ youth came after the game when he ducked out of the clubhouse before the media’s availability. (It’s a small item, but one veterans frown upon since they’re the ones who end up having to answer for the rookie.)
“He could see it in front of him, you’d have to ask him,” Napoli said when asked if Reyes’ speed factored into the hurried throw. “But you have to be quick with it. Him being quick down the line, it’s a play you have to get your feet under you and be quick.”
Bogaerts has taken his lumps this season while playing his new position at third base (making eight of his 15 errors at the position), although Red Sox manager John Farrell said it’s not for a lack of trying.
“I recognize that there’s a number of errors there at third base in the games he’s played,” Farrell said. “I can’t say it’s for exactly one reason that links them all together. It’s not because of effort and intensity with which he goes about his play.”
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