Wins and losses no longer really matter as we watch the Boston Red Sox finish this season. The fun is watching how the young players develop. Three names come to mind especially – Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. All of them are having forgettable seasons at the plate.
Bogaerts is also still adjusting to the field. He’s moved back to shortstop, where he is more comfortable but, in two losses to Houston this weekend, he made a key mental mistake in each one.
On Friday, he tried to throw out a speedy runner at second base (who was safe), instead of easily throwing the runner on first. The tying run scored on the play. On Sunday, Bogaerts fielded a ball and ran to touch second base and then throw to first base for an inning-ending double play. But Bogaerts threw the ball before touching second base. The inning continued and the Astros hit a grand slam.
Bogaerts was also 0-for-3, with his average dropping to .228. Both Bradley (.216) and Middlebrooks (.188) had two hits.
Knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright came in relief and allowed four hits, one run (a homer) and no walks, striking out four. Encouraging.
Pawtucket was leading 5-1 in the ninth before relievers Brayan Villarreal and Heath Hembree combined to allow five runs on four walks and three hits … Mookie Betts (.335) was 3-for-5 with two doubles … Bryce Brentz (.245) was 2-for-4 with his 10th home run (four of them coming in August) … Ryan Lavarnway (.275) was 2-for-3.
The Sea Dogs are one win (or one New Britain loss) away from clinching a playoff spot. Portland won 7-1 Sunday.
Manuel Margot, 19, is making the transition to advanced Class A Salem. In three games, he is batting .462 (6-for-13) with two home runs … catcher Jake Romanski (.350) went 3-for-4.
Greenville pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz (9-8, 3.89) allowed three runs over six innings (0 walks, 6 strikeouts).
Outfielder Joseph Monge, 19, went 5-for-5 in Lowell to up his average to .328.