Xander Bogaerts is putting together quite the campaign.
Bogaerts went 3-for-4 at the plate and collected his seventh home run of the season. He also orchestrated some incredible defensive plays, too, including an impressive 6-4-3 double play that is sure to land on highlight reels.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows there is something special about Bogaerts’ abilities. In fact, he believes the 28-year-old is the best shortstop in Major League Baseball.
“He is who he is,” Cora said during his postgame media availability. “He’s probably one of the best offensive shortstops in the big leagues, but whatever he touches, he turns into outs. Sometimes people get too caught up in the numbers, but overall (he’s) the whole package. (If) he’s not the best overall shortstop in the big leagues, somebody needs to show me somebody else to be honest with you. That’s how I feel about him.”
That’s a pretty bold statement considering the talent at shortstop across the league. But Cora stands firm by his claim.
“He’s so steady at everything that he does. We’ve got to take care of him. I was actually thinking about giving him tomorrow off. But he comes out of the game early, he feels good. He’ll play tomorrow.
“I mean, he’s so good,” Cora said with a laugh. “He’s really good. I mean, we’ve been talking about him for the last two weeks since we went to New York, right? I think that was when everybody kind of (was) like, ‘OK, he’s going to New York. Francisco (Lindor)’s over there. Let’s talk about the shortstop.’ But this guy is amazing. This guy is amazing.”
Bogaerts was a bit more humble when addressing the idea.
“I mean, we have a lot of good shortstops in the game right now,” Bogaerts said. “I remember when I first came up in the game, there were a few guys. It was mostly veteran guys. But I think maybe like in 2015-ish is when the Lindor and the (Carlos) Correa and the (Jose) Baez, those are kind of the first couple of guys that started coming up after I did that obviously are some of the best in the game right now. And you have like (Trevor) Story and (Fernando Tatis Jr.) and (Corey) Seager — those guys came a little but after.
“The shortstop (position) is really deep, man. … I expect a lot of myself and I go out there and try to be the best. It’s just the mentality that I have every year.”
Attitudes like that drive success, and Bogaerts seems well aware of that. In the end, his goal is to reach his personal full potential, whatever that might be.
“I just want to strive to get better. I just want to go somewhere really high. That’s what I expect of myself every day that I go out. I know every day I’m not going ot have the best game or have a good game. I understand that because I’ve been in the league a while now. You’re going to have the ups and downs. But I really want to be the best and I have that mentality of going out there and even surprising myself. I think just a good point for me is (to) aim high, you know?”
Here are some more notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— Boston’s bats were the star of the show, collecting 11 runs off 14 hits in Game 2 of the four-game series.
Cora is pleased with Boston’s “disciplined” approach to batting this season, especially Saturday night.
“It was great,” Cora said. “… It was a good day offensively. It was a really good day, not only putting at-bats, but we really ran the bases really, really well. We controlled the strike zone, we used the other side of the field so, you know, overall it was outstanding.”
— Michael Chavis his his first home run of the season in his first game back with the Red Sox since being recalled from Triple-A.
Chavis appeared poised when he sent the blast over the left-center field wall, but admittedly was a little nervous throughout his first couple of at-bats.
“If we’re being completely honest, we’re human and I was scared,” Chavis told NESN’s Jahmai Webster during postgame coverage. “I mean, I’ve been in the big leagues before and I’ve had some experience up here but 100% I was a little bit nervous. And it was kind of weird because it wasn’t so much the mental nerves. I knew what I was trying to do. I had a plan and everything like that. I was prepared. But just, those jitters, they showed up today. First at bat definitely sped up on me a little bit and then the second at bat, I was able to slow it down a little bit and just kind of fall into place.”
— The Red Sox appear to be getting back into a solid rhythm offensively after cooling down briefly.
Bogaerts offered a warning to other teams about Boston’s bats.
“Chavis, he comes up and gets a homer in his first game and its contagious, I guess. You know, it’s just surrounding him with good hitters. And I feel like good things happen that way. From top to bottom, especially the bottom half of the lineup … they’re getting on base and they’re doing a heck of the job. Obviously, being on base for the top of the order is very nice and obviously just having a lot of traffic creates a lot of problems for the other team.”
— Boston now is a season-high eight games above .500 in addition to owning the best recording Major League Baseball and largest division lead in the league, per NESN’s Tom Caron.
— The Red Sox return to action against the Orioles on Sunday with a matinee at Camden Yards. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET.