Red Sox Notes: Xander Bogaerts Justifying John Farrell’s Lineup Change

BOSTON — The Red Sox have figured out how to play winning baseball.

One day after snapping a three-game losing streak with an 8-3 win, the Red Sox made it two straight victories by defeating the Los Angeles Angels 6-1 at Fenway Park. Boston’s win in Sunday’s series finale was one of the team’s most complete efforts of the season, as everything seemed to click for the Sox.

Boston finished its homestand with a 3-3 record, but the Red Sox made tremendous strides, particularly at the tail end. They’ll now look to carry that momentum on the road.

Let’s dive into some notes from Sunday.

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— The Red Sox hit .303 (63-for-208) during their six-game homestand. They hit .340 (35-for-103) during their three-game series against the Angels.

Boston has produced at least five runs and 11 hits in each of its last three games. It’s the club’s longest such streak since a four-game stretch from Sept. 25 to Sept. 29 of 2013.

Finally, there’s some buzz surrounding the Red Sox.

“The one thing that I think over the last maybe seven days or so in our clubhouse, it’s more the mentality of ‘Just go play the game. Play the game to the situation that’s at hand,’ ” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “And clearly the starting pitching has got to be consistent.”

— Mike Napoil has homered in three straight games for the first time since homering in five straight games with the Texas Rangers from April 15 to April 21 of 2012.

It was a huge series for Napoli. But it isn’t too surprising, as the first baseman owns the best all-time slugging percentage (.739) and OPS (1.192) against the Angels — the team that drafted him in 2000 and traded him before the 2011 season — since 1961.

“I think there’s always a personal incentive when you go up against your original organization, regardless of how things played out over time,” Farrell said, “and that’s pretty common through most players.”

— Xander Bogaerts is justifying his move up in the lineup.

Bogaerts, who has batted fifth the last three games, tied a career high with four hits. The 22-year-old owns a seven-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting .440 (11-for-25).

— Wade Miley had a perfect game bid broken up in the fifth inning. But he still lasted eight tremendous frames to earn the win. The left-hander has won each of his last three starts.

The winning streak is Miley’s longest since he strung together three straight wins with the Arizona Diamondbacks from July 6 to July 19 of 2014.

Miley’s eight-inning effort marked the third time a Red Sox starter has lasted eight innings this season.

— Red Sox starters have recorded nine quality starts over their last 11 games, during which they’ve posted a 2.72 ERA and a .213 opponent batting average.

Boston recorded just eight quality starts over its previous 26 games.

— Brock Holt took a rocket off the forearm at third base in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game before being removed for a pinch-hitter (Pablo Sandoval) in the bottom of the inning.

According to Farrell, an initial scan performed on Holt at the ballpark came back negative.

“It hit him on a spot on the forearm where it irritated the nerve. It jarred the nerve,” Farrell said. “So he was starting to lose a little feeling in the hand, so we got him off his feet.”

— Holt and Dustin Pedroia played some excellent defense, especially in the seventh inning.

Pedroia made a great play ranging up the middle to rob David Freese of a potential leadoff single. Holt then made a diving stop at the hot corner to rob Chris Iannetta.

“It was well-executed in every phase,” Farrell said of the win.

Well-put, skip.

Thumbnail photo via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images

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