Boston Red Sox: 3 stars from dominant Wild Card victory over the Yankees

Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Xander Bogaerts

It’s safe to say that Xander Bogaerts had been in a bit of a slump as Boston rolled into the postseason. It’s also safe to say Bogaerts ended his slump last night pretty quickly, and he helped set the tone for the Red Sox all night long.

After Rafael Devers walked to extend the first inning, Bogaerts stepped up to the plate to face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. Cole fell behind in the count 2-1, and tried to sneak a changeup by Bogaerts. That didn’t end up working for Cole, as Bogaerts smoked the changeup out to dead center for a home run, and quickly gave Boston a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish throughout the course of the game.

Bogaerts wasn’t done there though. He made arguably the play of the game gunning Judge out at home in the sixth inning, and was vital to helping the Sox tack on some insurance runs later in the game. He seemed to ignore the stop sign from Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles on Verdugo’s double in the sixth inning, and ended up beating the throw home to give Boston a 4-1 lead.

Bogaerts line at the plate doesn’t look too inspiring, as he finished 1-2 with the two run homer, but he drew two crucial walks that helped set up Verdugo. He got on base for Verdugo in the sixth, and he extended the inning in the seventh by taking another walk before Verdugo drove in two more runs. Those are plate appearences that will tend to fly under the radar, but were absolutely crucial in helping the Sox pull out a win.

As the unquestioned leader of this team, this was an all around huge performance from Bogaerts. He got the Red Sox going early in this one, and continued to guide them throughout, even if it seems like a relatively uninspiring performance on the outside. If Boston wants any of chance of making a deep playoff run, they are going to need Bogaerts to continue playing like this.