Bogaerts will likely be in lineup for Game 5

Bogaerts will likely be in lineup for Game 5
October 17, 2013, 2:00 am
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DETROIT -- After his team was blanked in Game 3 of the ALCS, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland made some changes to his Game 4 lineup, reshuffling the batting order, a process which Leyland likened to "churning the butter.''
      
Now, it might be John Farrell's turn.
      
The Red Sox managed a series-high dozen hits in their 7-3 Game 4 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night, but many of those came after the game had gotten away from the Sox following a five-run second inning for the Tigers.
      
The bottom of the Red Sox lineup has produced next to nothing for the Sox in this series. In the four games to date, third baseman Will Middlebrooks is just 1-for-12, while shortstop Stephen Drew is 1-for-13.
      
The left side of the infield, then, is 2-for-25 to go along with 10 strikeouts.
      
Something, it would seem, will have to give.
      
"Haven't made a decision on [Thursday's] lineup,'' said Farrell, when asked if he planned to play Xander Bogaerts in Game 5. "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.''
      
Bogaerts pinch-hit for Middlebrooks in the top of the ninth and roped an opposite-field, ground rule double off closer Joaquin Benoit.
      
"I just went up there trying to get on base,'' said Bogaerts later. "The  guys behind me were swinging the bat good. [Dustin Pedroia], [Jacoby] Ellsbury  got two hits, [Mike] Napoli had two, [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] had one. So everyone  behind me was swinging the bat good, so the confidence was pretty high.
      
"I just wanted to get on base and get something started.''
       
It's a good bet that Bogaerts will replace Middlebrooks at third, with Drew staying at short, if only because Farrell values Drew's defense at short and likes his veteran presence. And, as a left-handed hitter, Drew does offer an edge in matchups against a team with all right-handed starters.
       
"No, no, I haven’t heard anything about that yet,'' said Bogaerts, "so we’ll see tomorrow. [Starting], that’s what you want. You want to play as many games as  possible to help the team win. So I’ll let the decision up to them. If I’m in, I’m in and if I’m not, be ready to go.''
       
Daniel Nava returned to left field because of some past success against Detroit starter Doug Fister, and while Nava did have a single in four trips,  it's expected that Jonny Gomes will return to left field.
       
As a right-handed hitter, Gomes won't present a matchup advantage against righthander Anibal Sanchez, the Game 5 starter. Still it's not lost on the Red Sox that they're 2-0 in games in which Gomes is in the starting lineup -- and 0-2 when he's not.
       
It's unlikely, however, that the Sox will see wholesale changes to the lineup Thursday night.
       
"The one thing we've maintained,'' said Farrell, "is a consistent approach with the lineup and not creating further uncertainty. And I think our guys have responded well to that. I thought overall it was a very good offensive approach tonight. Unfortunately, two-out base hits were elusive and any kind of extra-base hits with any men on base [were also missing].''