Xander Bogaerts is approaching all-time great status when it comes to Boston Red Sox shortstops.
The 26-year-old has put up MVP-type numbers in a career year that has been overshadowed only by the fact that Rafael Devers is putting up equally impressive numbers at just 21.
Bogaerts went deep twice Wednesday, lifting the Sox to a 7-4 win over the Colorado Rockies and reaching 30 home runs and 100 RBI on the season.
He is just the third Red Sox shortstop to reach that milestone, and the first to do so since Nomar Garciaparra in 1998. Vern Stephens reached that feat twice in 1949 and 1950.
Bogaerts reached the mark with one swing, launching his second home run of the game to lead off the seventh inning.
“Obviously coming into the season you don’t want to put any expectations on yourself or anything like that,” Bogaerts said on NESN’s postgame coverage of hitting the 30/100 mark. “But once you’re close to it, you kind of go for it.”
Bogaerts undoubtedly is climbing the ranks of Red Sox shortstops, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora considers him among the best shortstops in the game.
“He has been swinging it like that all season, driving the ball all over the place,” Cora said. “30 and 100, and hitting for a good average, that’s kind of like icing on the cake. When we talked last year, we talked about just driving the ball and doing damage. And now, he understands that he can hit for average while slugging and if he’s not the best shortstop in the league then he is in the conversation and that’s where he wanted him.”
He also is just the third player in Red Sox history with at least 30 home runs, 45 doubles and 100 RBI, though Devers likely is soon to join him.
When talking about all-time great Red Sox shortstop seasons, there’s Rico Petrocelli, there’s Nomar, Stephens and then … there’s Bogaerts, and he’s only 26.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rockies game:
— Boston’s argument for best left side in baseball certainly was furthered Tuesday.
Rafael Devers broke out of a rare slump, snapping an 0-for-15 stretch with a 3-for-5 effort, launching his 28th home run and finishing a double shy of the cycle.
With 80 extra-base hits this season, he now is six shy of tying Ted Williams’ mark for most extra-base hits by a Red Sox player 22-years-old or younger.
— J.D. Martinez remained ridiculously hot at the plate, blasting his team-leading 32nd home run of the season. He is 10-for-24 with four home runs and 12 RBI in his last four games.
— Boston certainly took advantage of the altitude in Denver, turning Coors Field into a launching pad.
The Sox hit seven home runs over the two-game sweep, and now have homered in 18 consecutive games, sending 34 balls out of the park in the stretch.
— He was not as sharp on the mound as his previous two outings, but Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his team-leading 16th win of the season., which sits second in baseball.
Over the past two seasons, only Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole have more wins.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images