CHICAGO -- After making a throwing error that cost the Red Sox a game Tuesday night, rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts vowed to turn the experience into a positive.
“You can use it two ways,’’ he said that night. “I could be down and keep going down from there, or I could use it as a turning point, something to move on, turn my season around from that play.’’
The next night, Bogaerts reached base five times -- on a single, two walks and two hit batsmen -- and stole a base. And Thursday night, he hit his first home run of 2014, a 444-foot blast (according to ESPN Stats and Information) deep into the left-field seats that broke up Chris Sale’s no-hit bid.
“Man, how about that?’’ said Red Sox catcher David Ross, whose ninth-inning double broke a 1-all tie and led to Boston’s 3-1 win in the rubber game of this three-game set against the Chicago White Sox. “That was impressive. It was loud, I promise you that.’’
“Why not?’’ asked Bogaerts, who earlier in the day had been compelled to answer questions about an embarrassing posting on his Twitter account, which he subsequently deleted after what he termed was an inadvertent tweet of a private photograph. “Why not?
“We’re starting to come together.’’
After four losses in five games, including three of four to the Yankees in the Bronx, the Sox grinded through a 6-4, 14-inning exercise in ugliness Wednesday night, then won a sublime duel between Sox left-hander Jon Lester and Sale in which both pitchers took no-hitters into the sixth inning.
Red Sox manager John Farrell, trying to generate some life at the top of the Sox order, placed Bogaerts in the No. 2 hole in the last game of the Yankees’ series on Sunday. He singled in that game, took an 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday night, but has made an impact in each of the last two games. His single Wednesday, besides accounting for his first RBI of the season, accounted for the first run the Sox have scored in the first inning this season, and his home run Thursday was even more impressive than his first big-league homer, which carried 443 feet over the left-field bullpen in Yankee Stadium last Sept. 7.
His performance has raised some intriguing lineup possibilities for manager John Farrell when Shane Victorino comes off the disabled list, as expected, sometime next week. Farrell will likely install Victorino back in the No. 2 hole in which he thrived last season. But rather than returning Bogaerts to a lower spot in the order, Farrell could consider having Bogaerts bat leadoff and return Pedroia back to the No. 3 hole.
That would make eminent sense if Victorino was still switch-hitting, but if he sticks to batting right-handed--and he has given no indication of doing otherwise--that would leave the Red Sox three straight right-handed hitters at the top of the lineup, which is probably untenable.
The manager said before Thursday’s game that he had not made any lineup decisions yet. “We have to get Shane back first,’’ he said.