Swing And Miss
Xander Bogaerts may be everyone’s favorite Red Sox player, what with his leading the league in hits and ability to speak more languages that several dead popes. Plus, there’s this: Xander admitted, during his 20-plus game hit streak, that if he didn’t get a hit in the first two at-bats he was definitely thinking about it by the third at bat. “That’s refreshing,” Joe Castiglione kept telling us. Is it?
I was there at Fenway on June 3rd when his 26-game streak was about to end. He went down in his first two at-bats, was walked in his third, and got one more opportunity with two men on and two out in the bottom of the ninth. Here was Xander’s chance to be a hero: a home run would tie the game; a single would extend the hitting streak; a walk would load the bases with Big Papi coming up. (Big Papi!) With the count three and one, Xander fouled off a tough pitch that looked, felt, and smelled like ball four. Well, at least it kept his chances at continuing his damnable streak alive.
At this point, the catcher for the Blue Jays called time and went to talk to his pitcher. I wasn’t privy to the “conversate” (as I’ve heard people call it), but I can guess what the catcher said: “This guy wants a hit more than anything, so don’t throw him a strike.” Sure enough, the next pitch was up in Xander’s eyes, and he swung at it anyway, striking out to end the game.
If Christian Vasquez had been on deck, I’d have understood, but it was David Ortiz!
New clubhouse rule: no more hitting streaks, as they tend to interfere with sensible at-bats late in the game.