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SportXander Bogaerts says Red Sox are ready to deliver second-half blow

23:47  12 july  2019
23:47  12 july  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Xander Bogaerts says Red Sox are ready to deliver second-half blow © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Chris Sale was mediocre again, Brandon Workman gave up three runs in 1/3 of an inning and the Yankees swept the Red Sox in an early season two-game series.

Boston was 6-13 on April 17 following a championship campaign in which it won 108 games and never faced an elimination game in the playoffs.

It was a gut punch to the Red Sox, their fans and every single pundit who picked Boston to repeat. The players themselves were stunned as this was like nothing they faced in 2018.

"I just think teams were excited to play against us man, and every time they played against us they showed up big time," shortstop Xander Bogaerts told Omnisport in an interview on behalf of Aruba.com this week. "They wanted to beat us extra bad."

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Possibly the most difficult part of the first half to deal with was the consistency of the Red Sox lineup.

Through 90 games this season Boston leads MLB in multiple offensive categories including runs, hits, batting average and on-base percentage. The calling card of the 2018 World Champions has remained the same.

The difference has been the pitching rotation which has featured a Chris Sale who has fought to find his form from previous seasons as well as his velocity and injuries to big-name starters David Price and Nathan Eovaldi.

That has resulted in a compromised pitching staff which sits middle of the pack in just about everything. Boston has been forced to play from behind and make up for lack of consistency among its pitchers and that has resulted in plenty of ups and downs.

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It's something 2018 MVP candidate J.D. Martinez says the Red Sox weren't quite ready to deal with.

"We didn't have that adversity (in 2018)," Martinez told MassLive.com at the All-Star Game in Cleveland this week. "We didn't have those ups and downs. Those are the ones that wear you out. Those ups and downs, those are the ones that grind you out mentally.

"When everyone's cruising, like it was last year, that was easy. It was fun. That was just a roll. You knew somebody that night was going to get a big hit. You knew you were going to win the game somehow. Going to the ballpark with that attitude took so much pressure off our shoulders. It was just different."

Boston has had to fight for every single win in 2019. That fighting has paid off with a bounce back from a poor start as it now sits at 49-41 (good for third in the AL East) following that 6-13 start by going 43-28 the rest of the way.

They truly took every team's best shot, just like Bogaerts said, and it appears the Red Sox are starting to learn how to roll with the punches. Bogaerts truly believes the team is starting to adjust and expects a much better second half.

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"We kind of collectively as a team, we kind of got hot and went on a nice little run," Bogaerts said. "But the second half's going to be big for us, we're going to play with a lot of passion coming off of a few days off and we know we're starting at home so we should have the upper hand."

The Red Sox start off the second half of their season against the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday.

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