Three things we learned about Red Sox on Wednesday

Three things we learned about Red Sox on Wednesday
July 24, 2014, 10:30 am
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TORONTO -- Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night:

1) Xander Bogaerts' transition to third base has not as gone as smoothly this year as it did last.

Bogaerts saw playing time at third last August and September, and again in October, when Will Middlebrooks struggled at the plate and forfeited his role in the starting lineup.

Right in the middle of the postseason, having just turned 21, Bogaerts shifted to third base and played the (relatively) new position well. He looked remarkably poised and while his play wasn't perfect, he looked under control.

A year later, Bogaerts appears tentative and unsure of himself at third. Wednesday night, what should have been a relatively routine play resulted in a throwing error that allowed the winning run to score from third.

The error was the ninth in 38 games for Bogaerts since moving from short to third to accommodate the return of Stephen Drew. Last season, in nine regular season games at third covering 57 1/3 innings, Bogaerts didn't commit a single error.

This has been a challenging season for Bogaerts, from his hitting slump to the uncertaintly over his position. The Red Sox have to hope that the changes haven't cost him in terms of development.


2) Clay Buchholz is sometimes impossible to figure out

For the first five starts since coming off the disabled list, Buchholz displayed impeccable command, with just one walk in 35 2/3 innings. So, what happens Wednesday night in a big spot? Buchholz suddenly can't find the plate, issuing four walks and hitting two other batters.

It's this kind of unpredictability that makes Buchholz so maddening. It was too much to expect that Buchholz would continue to average a walk every 36 innings or so.

But to put six batters on base in six innings because of wildness? That's a pretty extreme swing.

Buchholz acknowledged after the poor start that he couldn't repeat his deliver with any consistency. That happens from time to time with pitchers, but it seemed to be a problem Buchholz had overcome after his DL time and rehab stint.

It's precisely this lack of reliability that makes Buchholz so frustrating for the Red Sox.


3) Daniel Nava deserves credit -- again.

Nava is a self-made player, having played independent ball after college and believing in himself even when he didn't make his major league debut until he was 27. Then, Nava had to deal with the disappointment of being designated for assignment in 2012.

So, maybe it's not a huge surprise that Nava has come back -- again. Earlier this season, he was twice sent to Pawtucket to work on things when his swing seemed lost. Since returning a second time, he has looked more like he did last season.

In the past 36 games, dating to June 4, Nava is hitting .352 with an on-base percentage of .427 and reclaimed a semi-regular spot in the lineup - at least against righthanders.

Nava had to work to refine his swing after he got into the habit of using an uppercut earlier in the season and is back to stinging line drives. There's still not much power there -- he doesn't have a homer in that stretch and has just six doubles -- but he's having far better at-bats and reaching base with the consistency that made him so valuable in 2013.