I have, as have many Sox fans, been very excited about getting to see Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts in action, to find out what he can do for the major league team. However, I have also been very much in agreement with John Farrell in that the right approach is to stick with the regulars he's used all season and to use Bogaerts as only an occasional late-game replacement when its warranted. For one, the guy is still learning to hit major-league pitching and field major-league hitting, and for another thing, we have guys who are reliable, known commodities at Short and Third who it doesn't make sense to displace.
Two things are causing me to change my mind at this moment.
One, Will Middlebrooks is in an extended slump. Aside from the important rally-starting double in Game 2's dramatic 8th inning comeback, he has just looked bad at the plate. Making a lot of wrong choices about when to swing and when to not, and missing badly when he does swing. We seem to be back to the Middlebrooks that we sent down to Pawtucket earlier in the season.
Two, we've seen more of Xander Bogaerts at the major league level now. He's a bit more of a known commodity now, especially in how he's performed at the plate in limited playoff action. Nothing too spectacular, but somehow lately most of the times he gets to the plate, he ends up circling back to it with a run. Though a lot of the credit for that goes to his teammates, when you keep doing it with regularity, maybe you should see how long he can keep it going.
Sorry, Will. I've seen what you can do, but you have to figure out how to keep doing it consistently, or else you're hurting the team. I know your ceiling is high, but you seem to spend most of the time near your floor.
As for those who might think that Bogaerts should replace Drew instead, two points: one, all of Detroit's starters are righties. Two, Drew really does a spectacular job on defense, so I'd hate to lose that by putting Bogaerts in his place right now.
Leyland shook up his lineup last night, and it worked. Time for Farrell to do the same.