BOSTON —Â We know, it’s hard to believe. ButÂ no one on the Red Sox currently owns a 20-plus-game hitting streak.
Xander Bogaerts made sure of that Friday night, going 0-for-3 with two walks to snap a career-long 26-game hitting streak in Boston’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was the third straight defeat for the Red Sox, who now own just a half-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. But if you’re looking for silver linings, Bogaerts admitted there’s some sense of relief that comes with ending a streak that’s obviously been on his mind.
“Oh, for sure,” Bogaerts said. “Man, every third or fourth at-bat, I’m kind of like, ‘You don’t really have to get a hit, but you need one. To stay alive, you really need one.’ I’m pretty proud of myself that it lasted that long and the focus that I came with to the field every day.”
The streak ended in disappointing fashion for the 23-year-old shortstop. He came to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and represented the tying run with two runners aboard, but chased a high 3-2 fastball from Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna to end the game with a strikeout.
“I looked up after (I)Â swung at that one — that was 99 (miles per hour). So, he really geared up,” Bogaerts said. “He was throwing 94, 95 the whole game, and that came on me in a hurry. Once it left his hand, I saw it kind of middle, and it just rose up.”
Of course, the Red Sox should be the opposite of concerned about Bogaerts, who no longer owns the AL’s best batting average — Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is hitting .344, while Bogaerts dipped to .343 — but is on pace for career highs in nearly every category.
“He’s putting himself in a great position to swing the bat, pretty much in every at-bat he’s walking to the plate,” manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts.
The majority of Bogaerts’ 26-game hitting streak, tied for the second-longest by a shortstop in team history behind Nomar Garciaparra’s 30-gamer, was overshadowed by Jackie Bradley Jr.’s major league-best 29-game hitting streak. But now that both streaks are over, the Red Sox can focus on getting back to their hitting ways after a quiet night Friday.
“I am pretty disappointed,” Bogaerts admitted. “But obviously it was going to end someday. I definitely wouldn’t go the whole season with a hit. So, it’s a bit unfortunate that (the streak) ended (Friday), but it’s part of the game. I’ll sleep well tonight, hopefully, and come back tomorrow.”
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images