So the first installment of this national nightmare we call interleague play is over, with the red Sox taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies. Tonight’s game was another reminder of just how stacked this offense is. On a night that Betts and Pedey went 1-for-10 at the top of the order, six, eight and nine guys Victorino, Bogaerts and Masterson (!) went a combined 7-for-12 and drove in five runs. In three games, the Sox outscored the Phillies 16-6.
Yes, Masterson looked good, keeping the Phillies off-balance–and off base–much of the night. He even got a couple hits to help his own cause. But the undisputed star of the game in my eyes was the X Man.
We all know how much Bogie struggled last season. But the degree to which he’s been under the microscope since Monday is just baffling to me. When I picked up my morning paper, I saw an article telling me that what Bogaerts has shown so far this year — a year that is officially two games old — should be concerning to me. Sports radio was getting its digs in, too, with hosts wondering if Xander is “too thin” or “not focused enough” or “too dismissive of Steely Dan’s earlier work.” These folks are obviously a lot smarter than me when it comes to such things. But as I see it, I’m happy if the players have their jockstraps on right during the first couple weeks of the season. I’m not gonna call for anyone’s head with a 7 at-bat sample size. And why should we?
So I was pretty fucking stoked to see the X Man go 3-for-3 with a couple walks tonight — the only guy in the park to get on base five times. Although it was clear that the Aruban prince is about as comfortable in cold weather as an Irish guy at the International Suntanning Championship.
I still think the real Xander was the guy we saw and fell in love with during the 2013 postseason. The guy who made everything look so effortless and instinctive, as if playing the game was second nature.
I’ve got a feeling that guy will be back among us very soon. Tonight’s game may have been the first step toward his return. I’m certainly rooting for him.