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  4. title => "Chili Davis explains how Xander Bogaerts worked through slump"
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  6. article_body => "<p>BOSTON \u2014&nbsp;On a night the Red Sox turned a triple play, the Red Sox player who mattered most was the one infielder uninvolved:&nbsp;Xander Bogaerts, the shortstop who came into a 10-4 win over the Cardinals hitting .178 since the start of July.<\/p>\n<p>Bogaerts had three hits&nbsp;Tuesday, including a line single that was part of an eight-run fifth inning.<\/p>\n<p><strong>MORE RED SOX<\/strong><\/p>\n<ul>\n<li><strong><a href=\"http:\/\/www.csnne.com\/boston-red-sox\/red-sox-use-triple-play-eight-run-inning-beat-cardinals-10-4?int\" target=\"_blank\">Sox use triple play, eight-run inning to beat Cardinals, 10-4<\/a><\/strong><\/li>\n<li><strong><a href=\"http:\/\/www.csnne.com\/boston-red-sox\/evan-drellich-rafael-devers-may-be-special-enough-avoid-rookie-drop?int\" target=\"_blank\">Drellich: Devers may be special enough to avoid rookie dropoff<\/a><\/strong><\/li>\n<\/ul>\n<p>The arrival of Eduardo Nunez and Devers has almost served to hide the shortstop that plays between them. Almost. But Bogaerts remains essential.<\/p>\n<p>To&nbsp;hitting coach Chili Davis, Bogaerts appeared to be coming around during the last homestand.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cUpper body was getting over his lower body, getting over his legs too soon,\u201d Davis said. \u201cSo [he was] trying to stay behind the ball and just doing drills to feel himself staying behind the ball, give himself a chance to read the ball a little better. And I thought he had some nice at-bats on the road. ...&nbsp;Tonight, you could see the aggressiveness back, the bat speed.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>But everything seems to tie back to Bogaerts\u2019 right hand \u2014 both in terms of health and mechanics, and even communication about it. The top hand, and how to use it.<\/p>\n<p>The process to get Bogaerts here has, at times, been painful. He was hit by a pitch on that hand on&nbsp;July 6.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cIt's still a little bit in there,\u201d Bogaerts said. \u201cSome days are a little worse than others. It's something I've never dealt with in my career. You\u2019ve just got to go out there, it's the end of the season, we're in a pretty good place right now as a team. You don't want to be on the bench right now. You just want to battle through stuff.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Staying on the field is one matter. Getting your swing to a good place is another.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cBeing a right-handed hitter, hitting right-handed, you know your strong hand is your right hand,\u201d Davis said. \u201cYou want that to be your sort of \u2026 power hand, the one that speeds the barrel of the bat up through the ball. But it was leading the way.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>\u201cIt was coming a little choppy, kind of leading down on the ball, which when that starts going that way, everything starts going that way with it. So when he gets like more punchy with his swing, it keeps everything back and it explodes through the ball.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>\u201cThat\u2019s kind of what he explained to us, Victor [assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez] and myself last homestand.&nbsp;When we got an understanding of what he was thinking, then it was like, 'Oh, because you\u2019re preaching top hand, top hand, top hand' \u2014 and you know, top hand isn\u2019t supposed to produce pop ups. But it can, if you do it the wrong way.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>The trouble for Bogaerts was parsing the proper action from the improper.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cIn his mind,&nbsp;there was a misunderstanding in how he uses his top hand,\u201d Davis said. \u201cYou know, and once he understood it, it got him back, it actually fixed a few things with him. He\u2019s a smart kid and he takes things sometimes, I would say, literally. You know what I mean?&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>\u201cAnd when that happens, it\u2019s confusing, because he\u2019s trying to do the right thing, and it\u2019s confusing, and it\u2019s like, \u2018Why am I doing everything I think I\u2019m supposed to do, but then it\u2019s not working?\u2019 But then, when I look at my videos, I\u2019m really not doing what I think I\u2019m supposed to do, I\u2019m doing something else.\u2019&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>\u201cAnd in essence, he was doing the right move on video, but he thought it was not the right move. He\u2019s got a constant routine every day that he goes through and he sticks with it. He sticks with it. And he is so regimented with his routine that if you do anything wrong in that routine, for him, it carries into the game.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Sox manager John Farrell echoed that sentiment, noting how important it is for Bogaerts to carry his batting practice successes into games.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>The injury may have been what threw Bogaerts off course to begin with.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI know his hand bothered him yeah longer than we all know,\u201d Davis said. \u201cBecause he was, he took a few days off and he was back in the lineup. And it doesn\u2019t heal that fast. So that could have been another reason why all that stuff started happening.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI can\u2019t pinpoint when he started struggling, but, I know that might have \u2014 that didn\u2019t help. Hopefully his hand\u2019s feeling better and you know, if we get him hot, and Mookie [Betts] is swinging well. All the guys. Hanley [Ramirez has] been swinging the bat better. This is that stretch where you need everybody to start participating, picking each other up.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>That may be the case after every Sox starter had a hit&nbsp;Tuesday.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>Because Bogaerts was doing so poorly for such a prolonged time, the mental wear was impossible to avoid. Davis saw it too.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>Now, Bogaerts seems to&nbsp;have a&nbsp;handle on his swing.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cSometimes you're wondering what you're even doing up there after you see the at-bat you had is pretty bad,\u201d Bogaerts said. \u201cSometimes you have a good swing and can't do anything about it. Just try to take the positive from those type of stuff and move forward.\u201d<\/p>\n<p><div class=\"field-item even\" style=\"max-width: 753px; width: 100%;\">\r\n <h3 class=\"media-card__title\" style=\"width:100%; max-width:753px;\">NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE<\/h3>\r\n <div class=\"stanzacal\" data-width=\"100%\" data-height=\"250px\"><\/div>\r\n <script src=\"https:\/\/dff2h0hbfv6w4.cloudfront.net\/scripts\/embed-stanzacal-v1.js\" type=\"text\/javascript\"><\/script>\r\n <\/div><\/p>\n"
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Red Sox

Red Sox

BOSTON — On a night the Red Sox turned a triple play, the Red Sox player who mattered most was the one infielder uninvolved: Xander Bogaerts, the shortstop who came into a 10-4 win over the Cardinals hitting .178 since the start of July.

Bogaerts had three hits Tuesday, including a line single that was part of an eight-run fifth inning.

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The arrival of Eduardo Nunez and Devers has almost served to hide the shortstop that plays between them. Almost. But Bogaerts remains essential.

To hitting coach Chili Davis, Bogaerts appeared to be coming around during the last homestand.

“Upper body was getting over his lower body, getting over his legs too soon,” Davis said. “So [he was] trying to stay behind the ball and just doing drills to feel himself staying behind the ball, give himself a chance to read the ball a little better. And I thought he had some nice at-bats on the road. ... Tonight, you could see the aggressiveness back, the bat speed.”

But everything seems to tie back to Bogaerts’ right hand — both in terms of health and mechanics, and even communication about it. The top hand, and how to use it.

The process to get Bogaerts here has, at times, been painful. He was hit by a pitch on that hand on July 6.

“It's still a little bit in there,” Bogaerts said. “Some days are a little worse than others. It's something I've never dealt with in my career. You’ve just got to go out there, it's the end of the season, we're in a pretty good place right now as a team. You don't want to be on the bench right now. You just want to battle through stuff.”

 

Staying on the field is one matter. Getting your swing to a good place is another.

“Being a right-handed hitter, hitting right-handed, you know your strong hand is your right hand,” Davis said. “You want that to be your sort of … power hand, the one that speeds the barrel of the bat up through the ball. But it was leading the way. 

“It was coming a little choppy, kind of leading down on the ball, which when that starts going that way, everything starts going that way with it. So when he gets like more punchy with his swing, it keeps everything back and it explodes through the ball. 

“That’s kind of what he explained to us, Victor [assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez] and myself last homestand. When we got an understanding of what he was thinking, then it was like, 'Oh, because you’re preaching top hand, top hand, top hand' — and you know, top hand isn’t supposed to produce pop ups. But it can, if you do it the wrong way.”

The trouble for Bogaerts was parsing the proper action from the improper.

“In his mind, there was a misunderstanding in how he uses his top hand,” Davis said. “You know, and once he understood it, it got him back, it actually fixed a few things with him. He’s a smart kid and he takes things sometimes, I would say, literally. You know what I mean? 

“And when that happens, it’s confusing, because he’s trying to do the right thing, and it’s confusing, and it’s like, ‘Why am I doing everything I think I’m supposed to do, but then it’s not working?’ But then, when I look at my videos, I’m really not doing what I think I’m supposed to do, I’m doing something else.’ 

“And in essence, he was doing the right move on video, but he thought it was not the right move. He’s got a constant routine every day that he goes through and he sticks with it. He sticks with it. And he is so regimented with his routine that if you do anything wrong in that routine, for him, it carries into the game.”

Sox manager John Farrell echoed that sentiment, noting how important it is for Bogaerts to carry his batting practice successes into games. 

The injury may have been what threw Bogaerts off course to begin with.

“I know his hand bothered him yeah longer than we all know,” Davis said. “Because he was, he took a few days off and he was back in the lineup. And it doesn’t heal that fast. So that could have been another reason why all that stuff started happening.

 

“I can’t pinpoint when he started struggling, but, I know that might have — that didn’t help. Hopefully his hand’s feeling better and you know, if we get him hot, and Mookie [Betts] is swinging well. All the guys. Hanley [Ramirez has] been swinging the bat better. This is that stretch where you need everybody to start participating, picking each other up.”

That may be the case after every Sox starter had a hit Tuesday. 

Because Bogaerts was doing so poorly for such a prolonged time, the mental wear was impossible to avoid. Davis saw it too. 

Now, Bogaerts seems to have a handle on his swing.

“Sometimes you're wondering what you're even doing up there after you see the at-bat you had is pretty bad,” Bogaerts said. “Sometimes you have a good swing and can't do anything about it. Just try to take the positive from those type of stuff and move forward.”

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