Valentine not discouraged by home record

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Valentine not discouraged by home record

BOSTON With Fridays 13-inning loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox fell to 11-14 overall, and 4-8 at home. Their record at home, though, does not reflect the quality of play, manager Bobby Valentine said.

We have played well at home, Valentine said. We just havent won the games that we could have won. I thought yesterday was a good game. We had a couple of leads, came back, pitched well in the bullpen for lots of innings. Thats a pretty good game. Just didnt get the bloop or ground ball that eluded their infieldersWell win plenty of games at home.

Several of those losses have been to teams that were projected as wins, including losing two of three to the As, who have the worst offense in the league, and Fridays series opener to the Os, the perennial cellar dwellers of the American League East.

Valentine, though, is not frustrated by the lack of home wins.

You have to look at the little victories when you play well. I mean, what are you going to do? Discount things that went well and say, Oh, well, we lost and all the good things dont count? A lot of good things happened and guys got to not lose sight of that. Just keep doing the good things and try to keep the other guys from doing something good during the game.

He is not taking the absences of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Kevin Youkilis from the lineup as an excuse.

I think everyone plays without being at full strength and we have to be tough and do what we can do, he said. Itd be nice to see some of those guys. Theyll be here before its over. Its good to see other guys in the lineup. The guys we have now are busting their butt, doing a heck of a job.

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.

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