Xander Bogaerts: 'This is a slump? ... I'll get rolling'

May 06, 2014 - 10:22 pm

The drastic difference between Xander Bogaerts without men on base and with men on base is evokes Jekyll and Hyde. The version of Bogaerts at the plate without any men on base represents one of the top hitters on the Red Sox: .328/.423/.418 with a .457 BABIP , an on-base machine. On the other hand, the version of Bogaerts with runners in scoring position is hitting .125/.200/.188, a hitter who seemingly can't hit a lick. Bogaerts, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against the Reds Tuesday night, believes luck is not on his side at the moment when runners are on base. "What's going on right now is that things aren't falling," Bogaerts said. "The hits aren't coming when I need them, but it'll turn around. You can't keep a good man down for too long." Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn believes that despite Bogaerts' lackluster numbers with men on base, the shortstop is handling himself well at the plate. "He's doing well overall," Colbrunn said. "He's swinging the bat good, seeing a lot of pitches and drawing walks. He might be pressing just a little with runners in scoring position, but for the most part, he's stayed within himself and we're going to continue to do what we're doing and just try to concentrate on keeping positive." Bogaerts, who says he hasn't changed his approach at the plate, does not know why he has been channeling his inner-Hyde at the plate with men on base. "See the ball, hit the ball," Bogaerts said. "I don't know what's been going on. I guess I'm not swinging at good pitches. Pitchers are throwing me a lot of breaking balls and I'm getting a bit of break sometimes with the umpires too so sometimes all odds are against you." Bogaerts does not believe that his current struggles constitute a slump. "Slump? This is a slump?" Bogaerts said with puzzlement. "It is what it is. I'll bounce back. It's a matter of time and I'll get rolling." Colbrunn says that Bogaerts is handling his struggles with runners in scoring position well. "He's fearless," Colbrunn said. "That's the thing we love about him. He goes up there and very comfortable when he gets to the plate and is not scared. It's positive. He goes up there and you let him go." Bogaerts has kept the mindset that he is going to continue to do his job at the plate. "Just trying to get the runs in," Bogaerts said. "Trying to get a good pitch to hit, just got to do a better job at that." Colbrunn too believes that Bogaerts can turn things around quickly with a couple of good at-bats with runners in scoring position. "It's a short sample size right now," Colbrunn said. "He could get three hits with runners in scoring position tomorrow. Averages can change with the sample sizes so he's trying to go out there and have a good at-bat and not try to do too much."