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Friday, October 18, 2013
Xander Bogaerts to start Game 6

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn't ready to announce his lineup officially, but he did say Friday that Xander Bogaerts will again start at third base Saturday in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

Meanwhile, Farrell said Stephen Drew will remain at shortstop, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will start behind the plate, and Mike Napoli will remain at first base.

Bogaerts was thrilled to know ahead of time that he would remain in the starting lineup.

"I normally play good when I know the day before," Bogaerts said. "I don't know if that's luck or anything, but it's weird. I get to prepare myself differently. It's always good to know ahead of time you're in."

Bogaerts replaced Will Middlebrooks at third base for Game 5 and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run during Boston's 4-3 win Thursday night in Detroit. After the team's workout Friday at Fenway Park, Bogaerts said he was a bit tired and looking forward to getting a good night's sleep at home, but also planned to watch video of Detroit's Game 6 starter, Max Scherzer.

Drew is batting just .059 in the ALCS, but Farrell said he has confidence in the shortstop and values his defensive ability.

"There's been a lot of people calling for Stephen's head, seemingly, but he's a very good player," Farrell said. "And in these games defense is a premium. When a defensive play hasn't been made and you give a team an extra out, as good as these two teams are, you're likely going to pay for that. I'm not saying that we don't have good defenders otherwise, but Stephen has taken good swings. We all recognize the struggles that are there. But he shores up the middle of our infield, so I'm certainly going to preserve that."

Hearing the endorsement Farrell gave him earlier in the day also will help Drew's mindset moving forward.

"It's huge," Drew said. "For me, I've even-keeled regardless. I go out and play the game the best I can. Some days are frustrating."

He's studied his previous at-bats in the postseason and he's learned why he's had so many swings and misses. He's doesn't believe he's pressing at the plate. He's watched video and has been trying to identify the key to snapping out of this slump.

"I'm trying to figure some things out," Drew said. "I'm not trying to be timid in my at-bats. It's something that is frustrating, but at the same time, I don't take it into the field, which is really good. The main goal is to go out there and play good defense, and then come in and do my job at the plate. I've played really good defense, made some good plays and being there at the right time. The great thing is, this team is winning and that's all that matters in the postseason."

Farrell said he's given some thought to moving Shane Victorino down from the second spot in the order but that he hasn't made a decision.

"There's been some thought to that," Farrell said. "But to the point of making a change, haven't gotten to that point, yet."

Red Sox catcher David Ross produced offensively in Game 5, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, but Saltalamacchia will work as Clay Buchholz's batterymate for Game 6.

Farrell did not name a starter in left field. Jonny Gomes has started in all three Red Sox victories, and might have the inside track on Daniel Nava. Nava is 2-for-6 with a walk in the ALCS, but his two starts came in Boston losses, Games 1 and 4. Gomes is hitting .167 (2-for-12) in the series after going 0-for-4 but scoring a run in Game 5.