Red Sox Notes: Xander Bogaerts Catching Fire In Leadoff Spot As Playoffs Approach

The Boston Red Sox are going to need Xander Bogaerts in October, that much is clear.

With Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez all nursing injuries, the Red Sox shortstop needs to step up and help Boston’s offense, and he’s done that since manager John Farrell shifted him into the leadoff spot 19 games ago.

Bogaerts is hitting .307 since being moved into the leadoff spot and has an on-base percentage of .418.

After the Red Sox had their lead in the American League East cut to three games after Tuesday’s loss, they needed Bogaerts’ bat in order to help get them back on track Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The shortstop did not disappoint, as he went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run, four RBI and two runs scored in Boston’s 10-7 win at Fenway Park.

Bogaerts set the tone early in the second inning when he scored from first base on a dribbler from Pedroia that took forever to get to Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar. Bogaerts was running on the pitch and he never slowed down, barely beating Pillar’s throw home to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.

After Boston retook the lead in the third inning thanks to a solo home run by Hanley Ramirez, Bogaerts capped a five-run inning with a three-run blast to give the Sox a 9-4 advantage.

“A big night, especially for Bogey at the top of the order,” Farrell said as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “And since he’s moved to that spot because of some injuries, he’s, I think really come to life, you know his on-base percentage has climbed significantly, we’re seeing better at-bats, more consistent hard contact, the three-run homer tonight gave us some breathing room that we needed but a big night from him.”

While this season has been subpar from Bogaerts’ standards, he has been successful in the leadoff spot, hitting at a .290 clip with a .400 OBP and a .766 OPS. He’s been especially hot in the last week, hitting .391 with two home runs four RBI and nine runs scored.

Even if Betts, Pedroia and Nunez all return at full strength, Boston will need Bogaerts in order to succeed in the playoffs, and he seems to be heating up at the perfect time.

Let’s take a look at more notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays.

— David Price tossed 1 1/3 innings out of the bullpen Wednesday, and he looked good, striking out three and topping out at 97 mph.

— Rick Porcello tied the record for most home runs surrendered by a Red Sox pitcher in a season with 38.

— Boston finally figured out Marco Estrada Wednesday.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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