KANSAS CITY -- Xander Bogaerts is one of the best baserunners the Red Sox have. So when he saw an opening to push the envelope in the eighth inning in a 3-2 loss to the Royals in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, he went for it.This time, he was cut
KANSAS CITY -- Xander Bogaerts is one of the best baserunners the Red Sox have. So when he saw an opening to push the envelope in the eighth inning in a 3-2 loss to the Royals in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, he went for it.
This time, he was cut down.
But even with the benefit of hindsight, Bogaerts felt it was a risk worth taking.
With the Red Sox down by a run against a stellar bullpen, Bogaerts ripped a one-out single up the middle against Kelvin Herrera. David Ortiz followed with a single into right and Bogaerts was off to the races and on his way to third.
Jarrod Dyson came up throwing, and Bogaerts went headfirst into third. As it turned out, the throw was perfect, and Cheslor Cuthbert slapped down the tag for the out.
"He made a perfect throw," Bogaerts said. "Going in there, I thought I had it. Looking back at the video, because I can't look back [at the time], if it's a little bit to the right, a little bit to the left, I'm there, and [Travis] Shaw hits a sac fly and we're tied. He's one of the toughest relievers in the game, so getting an extra base off of him, I thought it was huge."
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who loves to be aggressive with the running game, stood by the decision Bogaerts made.
"We've executed that play routinely," Farrell said. "We're going to put pressure on the defense. We force them to throw a strike from that far away and he makes a very good defensive play."
In the fifth, Bogaerts again tried to make something happen with his legs, diving in headfirst to first base after a grounder to third. In that case, he was narrowly thrown out also, and the Red Sox are glad he wasn't injured.
"You can debate whether it's faster by staying up. I hold my breath every time he dives into a bag," Farrell said. "And while we're trying to get him to stay on his feet, I'm not going to fault him for the aggressive nature in which he plays, the aggressiveness he gives us every time down the line. But I'm fearful when you dive headfirst, particularly into first base, where you've got a chance for a finger, a wrist, a hand, or whatever it might be.
"That's something that we continue to talk about. But it's an instinctual play for him. And we're trying to give him a reason as to why staying on his feet might be better."
Bogaerts understands the team's reasoning and will try to run through first base going forward.
"I know I shouldn't be doing that," Bogaerts said. "It's just some of the instincts take over. I don't know why. As soon as I see a close play, my body tends to go down, but I'll definitely start working on not doing that as much."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.