ALCS 2013: Xander Bogaerts in Game 5 lineup?

Darren McCollester

Red Sox fans have been waiting for it, and it sounds like they'll finally get Bogaerts in the starting lineup.

The Red Sox have scored all of 10 runs over four games of the American League Championship series, with six of those coming in one game, and another three in Wednesday's losing effort. With the series all tied up, and the final game in Detroit coming on Thursday, manager John Farrell has a decision to make: does he continue to start scuffling shortstop Stephen Drew, or the 1-for-10 Will Middlebrooks, or does he insert top prospect Xander Bogaerts into one of those two spots?

From the sounds of it, Farrell is considering putting Bogaerts into one of those two spots on the left side of the infield. Per Brian MacPherson at the Providence Journal:

"I haven't made a decision on tomorrow's lineup," Farrell said a few minutes after the game. "But the left side of the infield, we're struggling a little bit to get production out of that side. It's something that's being considered, for sure."

Good things happened the last time Bogaerts was swapped in for Drew, as he collected two walks to score two runs against the Rays after pinch-hitting against lefty Jake McGee in the ALDS. This would be different -- it would be Bogaerts' first start in the playoffs -- but there is little to lose considering how inept Boston's lineup has looked. What's Bogaerts going to do, fail to reach base more than once and fit in with the rest of the bunch?

Bogaerts has four plate appearances in the playoffs to this point, drawing walks in two of them, as well as a double in another. He hit .250/.320/.364 in limited September duty for the Sox, but the 20-year-old has had some impressive plate appearances despite his youth and inexperience, and hit .297/.388/.477 between Double- and Triple-A. Bogaerts was recently named the top prospect in both the International League and Eastern League by Baseball America.

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