Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts finds focus as postseason nears

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Xander Bogaerts
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Xander Bogaerts /

The Boston Red Sox are once again champions of the American League East, thanks in part to a hot-hitting past few weeks of Xander Bogaerts.

Battling injuries, dealing with an inconsistent offense, and limping into the playoffs, the Boston Red Sox clinched the A.L. East with a game to spare on Saturday.

One can look no further to shortstop Xander Bogaerts as a sum of how streaky the Red Sox were in 2017. As luck would have it, Bogaerts is getting hot at the right time.

All it took was a chance to get healthy and a move in the order to the leadoff spot.

Bogaerts has a nine-game hitting streak and has found a way to consistently get on base in the past 17 games since moving to the top of the order.

During the hit streak Bogaerts has had three multi-hit games and seven in the month of September. This includes a four-hit game in a 13-6 victory over Tampa Bay on September 15.

Bogaerts is hitting .342 in his last ten games, driving in five runs while scoring ten.

More from Boston Red Sox

Overall, Bogaerts has hit 10 home runs with 62 RBI’s while batting .273.  He has scored 94 runs with an OBP of .343.

Health has been a key issue to not only the production of Bogaerts, but other key Boston players as well. Eduardo Nunez, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia are all battling issues.

The expanded roster has helped, allowing manager John Farrell to rest players. Betts, before getting dinged up, was having a productive September as well. Along with Bogaerts, these two producing will be a key to postseason success.

A long July and August

The first three months saw Bogaerts hitting well and seemingly on his way to another productive season. Taking a pitch to the hand derailed that.

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 27: Xander Bogaerts
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 27: Xander Bogaerts /

Before the injury, Bogaerts was hitting over .300. There wasn’t a lot of power from Bogaerts, but he was still getting on base and was hitting .302 as late as July 15.

Then the downfall occurred.

Bogaerts ended up hitting only .198 in July and August, with an OBP in July of .227. Things were getting to the point many fans did not even want to see him on the field.

The batting average dipped to .266 on September 10. A move to the leadoff spot not only helped Bogaerts but the Red Sox as well.

Boston has been a team relying less on the home run and more on timely hitting. The true can be said of Bogaerts. Though he’s never been a guy expected to hit 40 home runs a little more power might be nice.

Next: Boston Red Sox win the American League East title

And maybe the time to find his power stroke again will be in October. The extra oomph might be needed as Boston starters struggled over the season’s last week.

Bogaerts returning to form has  been a positive sign. If his teammates can continue to follow suit, fans of the Boston Red Sox will have plenty to celebrate as October progresses.