Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/17/13
The Red Sox’ potential Game 5 “X factor” couldn’t be any more obvious. Xander Bogaerts should undoubtedly start Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday. The only considerations should be who Bogaerts replaces in the starting lineup and where exactly he hits in the order. John Farrell said after the Red Sox’ 7-3 loss to the Tigers in Game 4 on Wednesday that he hasn’t figured out his starting lineup for Game 5, although he did suggest that Bogaerts could be part of the mix. “Haven’t made a decision on tomorrow’s lineup,” Farrell said after Game 4. “But given the way the left side of the infield, we’re struggling a little bit to get production out of that side. So it’s something that’s being considered, for sure. Farrell should save himself the hassle that comes with a lengthy deliberation, and just act. Jim Leyland shuffled his Game 4 lineup in search of a spark, and it worked out perfectly for the Tigers. Detroit more than doubled its run total for the series in the first four innings Wednesday. Sure, there’s no guarantee that a shake-up would infuse the same energy into the Red Sox’ lineup, but given Boston’s ongoing struggle to produce runs, inserting Bogaerts into the starting nine seems like a no-brainer. The Red Sox banged out 12 hits in Wednesday’s loss, but a third of them came from Jacoby Ellsbury and one came from Bogaerts in the ninth inning. Stephen Drew is hitting .107 (3-for-28) this postseason, including 1-for-13 in the ALCS, and Will Middlebrooks is hitting .174 (4-for-23), including 1-for-10 in the series. There needs to come a point when Farrell turns to the extremely talented rookie sitting on his bench, especially since Bogaerts has managed to make an impact in his limited opportunities. Bogaerts has reached safely in three of his four playoff plate appearances. And while he did strand the potential tying run on second base in Game 1 of the ALCS, he also worked two key walks in Game 4 of the ALDS and has scored four runs. It’s all been the result of tremendous poise and much-improved plate discipline. Nothing seems to rattle Boston’s top prospect. Not even the big stage of October. “Very confident, very relaxed,” said Bogaerts, who doubled in the ninth inning Wednesday. “During games, sometimes I sit down and visualize myself hitting balls opposite field, home runs, stuff like that. I came into BP and tried to hit a home run to right field today, but I couldn’t. I just visualize myself hitting balls out of the park but to right field and I almost did. “It’s all about opportunities. You never know what can happen once you get an opportunity. It’s crazy how this game is, so we’ll see tomorrow.” While Drew’s struggles at the plate have been a bit worse, Middlebrooks will probably be the casualty if Bogaerts finds his way into Thursday’s lineup. Middlebrooks is just 0-for-2 in his career against Game 5 starter Anibal Sanchez, while Drew is 5-for-22 against the right-hander. Plus, Farrell has shown a ton of patience with Drew and the shortstop’s glove remains an asset. Bogaerts became the youngest player ever to record a postseason hit for the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS. The 21-year-old should be given an opportunity to leave a bigger mark on Game 5. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here. Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Ricky Doyle, Top Stories
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark


Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker