Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor are part of the youthful surge at shortstop, coming off their first All-Star campaigns.
But so far this series their numbers have shown otherwise, both going 1-for-8 with four strikeouts to start the series. Bogaerts’ hit was an infield single he hustled out, while Lindor was the final home run in the third-inning’s mini home run derby Thursday.
There’s a lot more to how these two have played this series than the numbers show -- sorry stat geeks.
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First, their swings at the plate have been immensely different.
Lindor tries to drive the ball every time he swings that bat. Bogaerts looks like he’s complacent with putting the ball in play. For those who want to jump to the conclusion that Lindor is more of a power hitter that Bogaerts, he had a higher average (.301) than Bogaerts (.294) and hit less home runs (15 to 21, respectively) in the regular season.
When they fail at the plate, they look different, too. That only matters because that’s a reflection of where they are mentally.
Lindor smiles for a moment with dissatisfaction and moves on. Bogaerts’ head drops and he looks confused and defeated.
Now Terry Francona did make the fair point, “It’s more fun when you win.”
But this is a clear carryover from Bogaerts’ decline in the regular season when he finished batting .241 (27-for-112) in September. Bogaerts is still an amazing talent, but it’s concerning to see how he’s handled the adversity he’s dealt with late this season.
Bogaerts is one of the smartest players in the Red Sox clubhouse; no one recounts at-bats or specific scenarios like he does. It’d be a shame if this -- his intelligence and decision-making process paralyzing his MVP-caliber skills -- becomes a recurring trend.