ST. PETERSBURG -- Xander Bogaerts, extra-base machine.That has a nice ring to it, and the Red Sox have enjoyed watching him start the season on a three-game tear that reached historic proportions.Bogaerts, who homered, doubled and finished 3-for-4 Saturday night during a 3-2 win against the Rays, is the first
ST. PETERSBURG -- Xander Bogaerts, extra-base machine.
That has a nice ring to it, and the Red Sox have enjoyed watching him start the season on a three-game tear that reached historic proportions.
Bogaerts, who homered, doubled and finished 3-for-4 Saturday night during a 3-2 win against the Rays, is the first player in Red Sox history to have multiple extra-base hits in the first three games of the season.
In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only MLB player to pull off that feat in the last 100 years is Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who did it in 2015.
"I think I heard that on the radio from [play-by-play man] Joe [Castiglione]," Bogaerts said. "I mean, I'm blessed. I'm thankful for what God gave me and all the support I get from my family and my teammates and my coaching staff. Those are the people that make things possible."
It seems just about anything is possible for Bogaerts when he's healthy. And it's fitting his hitting barrage has come at Tropicana Field. It was under that same roof on July 7 when Bogaerts was hit on the right wrist by a pitch from Tampa Bay's Jake Faria.
Bogaerts played through the injury but his stat line for the rest of the year (four homers, .661 OPS) made it clear how much he was hampered.
"He's himself right now and he's feeling good," Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello said. "He's doing what he knows he can do when he's healthy. It's awesome to see him playing free and smiling and that's what he's doing, so just keep it going."
In the first three games, Bogaerts is 8-for-12. All but two of his hits have gone for extra bases.
Though Red Sox manager Alex Cora hasn't been around Bogaerts long, he knows that when Bogaerts is healthy, he can be as productive as any shortstop in the American League. And that includes Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa.
"We had a conversation on the back fields. [Lindor and Correa are] two of my favorite players from back home. They play shortstop and they're elite," Cora said. "Xander was in that conversation the last few years, and all of a sudden last year, he wasn't in that conversation. I told him, 'I know you can be like those guys. You can be elite. It's just matter of, keep working, keep listening, and you'll be fine.'"
Bogaerts has been more than fine out of the gate. He smashed a pair of doubles in Boston's 6-4 loss on Opening Day. He roped two more doubles in a 1-0 win over the Rays on Friday.
The shortstop came out swinging again on Saturday, belting a solo homer to break a scoreless tie in the second and padding his team's lead to 3-0 with an RBI double in the sixth.
"It's just working, you know? I'm working with my hitting coaches," Bogaerts said. "I just try to come in and do the same thing every day, be consistent. It's what I'm trying to do this year a little bit better, be consistent with my work and just whatever happens out there happens."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.