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Dave Dombrowski on Xander Bogaerts’ defense: ‘I don’t think he has the range of some of the other shortstops that are out there’ 10.11.16 at 6:32 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts says he isn't dealing with an injury or exhaustion. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts saw his defense suffer along with his offense this season. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

All of the focus on Xander Bogaerts’ disappearing bat this season obscured the step back he took on defense, as well.

A Gold Glove finalist in 2015, Bogaerts regressed on that side of the ball as well, this year. According to Baseball Info Solutions, he didn’t cost the team any runs defensively last year, but in 2016, he cost the team 10 runs on defense.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed Bogaerts’ defensive shortcomings on Tuesday.

“I think Bogey did fine at short,” he said. “I know the defensive metrics are not great. I don’t think he has the range of some of the other shortstops that are out there. With Bogey’s case, he plays well at short, but he’s also a guy you’d describe as an offensive shortstop. I don’t think he’s hurt us defensively. I think his offense more than makes up for whatever lack of range he may have compared to some of the other guys.

“You think of a guy like [Detroit’s Jose] Iglesias, who had much more range, but is nowhere near the offensive force Xander would be. So I think he did a fine job for us. He’s a good player, and we look for him to be our shortstop next year and for years to come. He’s going to have to keep working on it because he’s a big guy, and big guys like that have to continue to emphasize their quickness.”

Offensively, Bogaerts made his first All-Star team by hitting .329 with an .863 OPS in the first half, but he fell to .253 with a .718 OPS in the second, necessitating a drop to sixth in the batting order during the playoffs.

With the glove, the defensive component of his wins above replacement dropped from 0.9 last year to minus-0.1 this year.

Read More: advanced metrics, Red Sox, shortstop defense, xander bogaerts
Early playoff exit will only help young Red Sox players in future at 12:57 am ET
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It was a tough series for some of the Red Sox' younger players. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It was a tough series for some of the Red Sox’ younger players. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Maybe the Red Sox weren’t ready for the big stage.

Of the nine starters, five players made their postseason debuts this past week and their inexperience may have shown up as the Red Sox were swept 3-0 in the ALDS by the Indians.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts. Mookie Betts went 2-for-10. Sandy Leon went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts. And even though Xander Bogaerts played in the 2013 playoffs, he was a rookie and he too struggled in the series going 3-for-12 with four strikeouts.

“It’s definitely a great experience,” Bogaerts said. “A lot of pressure, but you have to learn how to control it, you have to learn how to think in that moment and just not over think a lot of stuff. Just be in the moment and be focused.”

For Betts, a MVP candidate, it looked like at times particularly in Cleveland the big stage may have got to him a bit.

“It’s the same game it’s just pressure — if you add pressure,” he said. “Everything counts. Every pitch counts. Every at-bat counts. It’s something new for a lot of us. Next year we have to be ready for it.”

Added Betts: “We’ll be OK, I know that. We are going to take this as a positive. Now we know what to kind of expect going into the playoffs.”

There were two players making their playoff debuts who had good series’ as Brock Holt went 4-for-10 and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-9. A good sign for the future.

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Read More: mookie betts, xander bogaerts,
Closing Time: Red Sox rally comes up short as Indians complete sweep in ALDS 10.10.16 at 9:51 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings to take the loss in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

That certainly wasn’t how things were supposed to go.

After entering the postseason as the favorites in the American League, the Red Sox were swept by the Indians in the best-of-five series, concluding with a 4-3 loss Monday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox offensive simply couldn’t get anything going all series long, including Monday as they were shut down by starter Josh Tomlin for a second time in the series.

Tomlin held the Red Sox to two runs over five-plus innings in four hits, while walking one and striking out four. After Tomlin, Andrew Miller didn’t allow a run in his two innings of relief, but the Red Sox did make things interesting in the eighth against Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.

After a David Ortiz walk with two outs against Allen, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left scoring Mookie Betts to make it a 4-3 game and the tying run being at second base, which was when Ortiz was lifted for Marco Hernandez as a pinch-runner to a standing ovation. Xander Bogaerts ripped a line drive, but it was right at the second baseman to end the threat and leave the tying run in scoring position.

In the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-out single and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw flied out to end it.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz avoided trouble in the first three innings, but couldn’t get out of a jam in the fourth. Jose Ramirez led the inning off with a single and was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall walk. Coco Crisp laid down a perfect bunt to set up second and third with one out and catcher Tyler Naquin delivered with hard single to right to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

Buchholz was lifted after the inning as he went four innings, allowing the two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out four.

Drew Pomeranz relieved Buchholz and allowed a crucial, two-run home run to Crisp in the sixth inning, putting the Indians ahead 4-1 at the time. It was Crisp’s second postseason home run of his career.

The Red Sox scored their first run in the fifth. After a Bogaerts one-out single, Andrew Benintendi doubled off the wall to score Bogaerts on a close play at the plate. That would be all they would get in the frame as Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. were both retired, leaving the tying run at the time on second base.

Tomlin was pulled following a leadoff single in the sixth and in came Miller. The Red Sox did get another run as following a Betts double, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to center, but Ramirez then struck out to end the inning.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox led for exactly one inning in the entire series.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, xander bogaerts
Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts back to batting 2nd vs. Blue Jays 10.01.16 at 5:36 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Apparently, it was just a one-game thing.

A night after being dropped in the order to No. 6, Xander Bogaerts is back to batting second in the second game of a three-game series with the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox are looking to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the American League as their magic number is two with getting homefield advantage in the ALDS over the Indians.

With the Red Sox going up against Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, Aaron Hill will start at third base and Chris Young will start in left field.

Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Chris Young, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Christian Vazquez, C
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Aaron Hill, Chris Young, xander bogaerts,
Red Sox notebook: Steven Wright ruled out of first round of playoffs, John Farrell explains decision to drop Xander Bogaerts in order 09.30.16 at 5:48 pm ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

It’s now official: when the division series starts next week, Steven Wright won’t be a part of it.

The knuckleballer threw another bullpen on Friday afternoon before the Red Sox opened their final series of the regular season against the Blue Jays, but he won’t throw again until Monday, and manager John Farrell said there’s no longer time to get him ready for the start of the playoffs.

“He wouldn’t be eligible for the first round,” Farrell said. “No, he would not.”

Wright is still recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in August running the bases against the Dodgers. Farrell said Friday’s bullpen was at roughly 70 percent effort.

“Now it’s just a matter of continuing to build some repetition,” Farrell said. “It’s likely he throws two more bullpens, the next being Monday, before we would look to alter his program. In other words, starting to see hitters or anything along those lines. A step in the right direction for Steven.”

In other pregame news, Farrell explained the decision to drop shortstop Xander Bogaerts to sixth in the batting order.

“I just feel like, and this isn’t centered around Xander, even though he’s the one moving down a little bit,” Farrell said. “This is to try to create a little bit of a spark for us offensively because we’ve been grinding a little bit and also to create a little balance up and down the lineup a little bit more. We’re soon to get out of an expanded roster. So maybe to create a little more balance, that’s where today’s lineup is reflective of it.”

Bogaerts has scuffled in the second half. He’s hitting .227 since Aug. 1, but he went 5-for-14 vs. the Yankees with more of his typical right-field approach.

“I think what he’s shown in the New York series has been the goal of getting him back to that approach,” Farrell said. “And when you see the line drive approach into the right-center field gap, that all-field approach is what he’s working extremely hard to get back to. He’s been pitched to extensively. I want to make it clear, Bogey being in the six-hole isn’t reflective of the second half.”

Read More: John Farrell, Red Sox Notes, steven wright, xander bogaerts
Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts batting 6th, David Ortiz 4th in series opener vs. Blue Jays at 3:50 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

With Xander Bogaerts hitting just .235 in September, manager John Farrell has moved him down in the order. Bogaerts is batting sixth in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Third baseman Brock Holt, who has been hitting well of late, will bat second as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Marco Estrada. Also, Mookie Betts and David Ortiz have switched, so Ortiz will bat fourth and Betts third.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who is making his final start of the year before the postseason.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, 3B
Mookie Betts, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Sandy Leon, C
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: David Ortiz, xander bogaerts,
Closing Time: Red Sox offense goes cold in David Ortiz’s final game in Yankee Stadium 09.29.16 at 10:26 pm ET
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is greeted by former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on Thursday. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is greeted by former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on Thursday. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports)

On the heels of their second AL East crown in four years, the Red Sox called off the dogs.

With Henry Owens making just his fifth start of the year and a host of regulars resting, the Red Sox dropped a 5-1 decision to the Yankees on Thursday that completed New York’s sweep.

One night after the Red Sox clinched the division, Owens allowed four hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out six. It was a serviceable effort, all things considered, from a pitcher who hadn’t made an appearance in three weeks.

It didn’t take long for the Yankees to jump on the 24-year-old, however, as cleanup hitter Starlin Castro doubled to plate Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. In the fifth, Ellsbury smacked an RBI double of his own to put the Yankees back up 2-1.

The Red Sox offense made C.C. Sabathia look like he was in his mid-2000’s form, managing four hits and a run off the lefty over seven innings while striking out eight times. Xander Bogaerts served as one of the few sources of offense, driving his 21st home run of the season in the fourth inning.

David Ortiz struck out and walked in his final game against the Yankees before being replaced by Brock Holt. Ortiz was honored before the game by former opponent Mariano Rivera, as well as with a book full of testimonials from Yankees greats.

Closing Time note

David Ortiz’s eight strikeouts at Yankee Stadium this season are the most of any ballpark outside of Fenway.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— The bullpen didn’t do its part in the game in the sixth. After Heath Hembree allowed a walk and single, Robby Scott loaded the bases and proceeded to walk in a run and let another in on a passed ball.

— The battery of Owens and Ryan Hanigan had trouble catching baserunners, allowing a pair of stolen bases.

— The Red Sox grounded into a pair of double plays.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Bogaerts tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth inning. The 21st dinger for the 23-year-old keeps him fifth on the team in home runs.

— After allowing a single to start the inning, Junichi Tazawa shut down the rest of the Yankees batters in the seventh, including a strikeout of slugger Gary Sanchez.

Read More: henry owens, Red Sox, xander bogaerts, Yankees
Closing Time: Drew Pomeranz struggles, Red Sox can’t get clutch hit in loss to Orioles 09.13.16 at 10:38 pm ET
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It was a frustrating night for the Red Sox in their loss to the Orioles. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

It was a frustrating night for the Red Sox in their loss to the Orioles. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tuesday night went almost the opposite as it did Monday for the Red Sox and Orioles.

On Monday the Red Sox knocked Orioles starter Wade Miley out of the game after 1 1/3 innings, and on Tuesday the Orioles knocked Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz out of the game after two-plus innings.

Unlike the Orioles on Monday, the Red Sox made it a competitive game, but they still fell 6-3.

The Red Sox went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, the Blue Jays also lost, so now both Toronto and Baltimore trail the Sox by two games in the AL East.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, Pomeranz allowed five runs in the second inning, including two home runs. J.J. Hardy started the scoring with a three-run shot and then after a Drew Stubbs walk, No. 9 batter Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer.

Pomeranz made it out of the inning, but then was pulled after allowing a lead off single in the third. The two-plus innings made it the second-shortest start of his career.

“A very long inning offensively on their part. 45 pitches is a high number,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “A couple of walks mixed in on a couple of 3-2 pitches that were up in the strike zone. Fastball to Hardy, 3-2 curveball to Reimold. Two swings of the bats, as they are very capable of doing at any point in the lineup, is to drive the ball out of the ballpark.”

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Dustin Pedroia, xander bogaerts,
Closing Time: Rick Porcello wins 20th, Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts homer as Red Sox pummel Blue Jays 09.09.16 at 10:33 pm ET
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Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game on Friday in Toronto. (John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports)

Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game on Friday in Toronto. (John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — The Red Sox visited Toronto on Friday intent on growing their lead in the American League East.

They did so in overwhelming fashion.

Right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game and Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts homered to pace an offensive explosion as the Red Sox destroyed the Blue Jays, 13-3, to open a two-game lead in the AL East.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” said Porcello, whose first order of business was to call his parents. “It’s hard to win one game in the big leagues let alone 20. I’m very proud of that. At the same time it’s collective. We had to swing the bats and play defense. It’s a complete team effort. Sharing this with all 25 guys. Or 40 now that we’re in September.”

“Well, what Rick has done for a long stretch now, his game-plan that he prepares and he executes it,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “That’s the thing, his execution has been outstanding because he’s pitching with average velocity but his location is tremendous. He knows when to elevate and he’s been able to use breaking balls in certain counts that have worked to his advantage. More than anything, he doesn’t add baserunners by the walk. One walk again here tonight. Like I said, he knows what he’s doing. He’s got complete conviction to each pitch he throws and it’s evident by the bottom-line results.”

Porcello, blessed with overwhelming run support all season, was staked to a 1-0 lead in the first, 2-0 in the second and 4-0 in the third. He cruised from there, improving to 20-3 and lowering his ERA to 3.21. He allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one.

The Red Sox entered the game with the best offense in the American League and they did nothing to dispute that notion.

They struck quickly in the first. Dustin Pedroia led off with a single and scored on Mookie Betts’ two-out double.

They added another run in the second on Pedroia’s RBI single and two more in the third on Travis Shaw’s sacrifice fly and an error by left fielder B.J. Upton.

Devon Travis got two of the runs back with a single in the third, but the Red Sox kept piling on. They scored one in the fourth on a Pedroia sacrifice fly and then exploded for sixth in the seventh to build an 11-2 lead.

Bogaerts and Ramirez both homered in the frame.

But Friday, was Porcello’s day.

“He’s probably the MVP of our team right now,” said Jackie Bradley Jr. of his starting pitcher. “He’s tremendous on the mound.”

Closing Time note

The last Red Sox pitcher to win 20 games was Josh Beckett in 2007.

“They do it differently,” said Farrell when asked to compare the two pitchers. “I think Rick is probably more of a four-pitch pitcher where Josh was primarily fastball-curveball and changeup. Might not have the power that Beckett did, but still, when you’re talking about sending a guy to the mound that’s going to go deep in ballgames, the similarity is the wins obviously. Still, they do it a little bit differently in their own way.”

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Porcello was once again on top of his game, easily out-dueling Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who was bounced in the third inning.

— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia remained red-hot. He recorded three more singles and drove in four runs.

— First baseman Hanley Ramirez has saved his best baseball for the end of the season. He blasted a three-run homer in the seventh to blow the game open.

— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, mired in a lengthy slump, stroked two hits, including a solo homer to get things started during a six-run seventh.

— Five members of the starting lineup recorded multiple hits (Pedroia, Bogaerts, Betts, Ramirez, Leon, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ramirez).

— The Red Sox outfielders tried a little something new in their celebration after the win. “We’re mixing it up a little bit. It was the debut of the ski jump today,” said Bradley Jr.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Second baseman Deven Marrero made an error in the eighth, leading to an unearned run.

Read More: Blue Jays, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, Red Sox
Red Sox Lineup: Xander Bogaerts gets day off as Rick Porcello, Red Sox seek to complete sweep of D’backs 08.14.16 at 12:58 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox look to sweep the Diamondbacks on Sunday behind their best pitcher, Rick Porcello.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts will get the day off after battling recent fatigue. Bogaerts is batting .203 in his last 18 games, dropping his batting average to .313, the lowest it has been since May 8.

“Like anybody, he needs a little bit of a day to get some fresh legs,” manager John Farrell said before the game. “He’s scuffling at the plate right now a little bit where he might lunging at times, he might be caught in between at times. Maybe a day to kind of catch his breath a little bit is needed.”

As for Porcello, he’s looking to improve upon the best home record (11-0) in the game. The Red Sox have won all 12 of his starts at Fenway Park.

“Rick in his own right may be on the path to his best year as a major-league pitcher himself,” Farrell said. “Rick has been extremely comfortable in Fenway, extremely successful. We’ll need it based on what the matchup suggests.”

What has been the difference for Porcello?

“There’s a few reasons, but I think it starts with him being in his second year in Boston,” Farrell said. “He’s more comfortable. He’s certainly comfortable on the mound here. I just think the environment, the expectation, it’s more of a known commodity to him this year than it was a year ago. It’s allowed, that relaxation to let his natural abilities come out. That filters over to his execution which has been probably as consistent as any point in his career — the fewest walks per nine innings allowed. He’s not beat himself. He’s put the ball on the ground at a pretty good rate.”

Here’s the lineup, with the Red Sox facing Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke:

2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Brock Holt
RF Mookie Betts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
3B Aaron Hill
C Sandy Leon
LF Andrew Benintendi

Read More: Red Sox lineup, rick porcello, xander bogaerts, zack greinke
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