The Boston Red Sox did not hit a grand slam in 2017 but Xander Bogaerts blasted the first one of this season against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The X-Man is an extra-base hitting machine. Xander Bogaerts has been smacking doubles all over the park but the highlight of this young season was Saturday’s grand slam – a rarity for this Boston Red Sox team.
The power outage that plagued the Red Sox was one of the themes of last season. Not only did Boston finish last in the American League in home runs, they went the entire season without hitting a grand slam.
We didn’t have to wait long to see if the Red Sox would repeat that dismal slugging display. Bogaerts blasted a moonshot over the Green Monster with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning to give the Red Sox a commanding 8-2 lead.
The grand slam went screaming out of Fenway Park with an exit velocity of 109.9 mph to land somewhere on Lansdowne Street. The swing was recorded at a 30 degree launch angle. That puts Xander’s blast safely inside Statcast’s barreled zone. His grand slam was his major league-leading sixth barrel of the season, which already matches his total from last year.
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The four-run blast was the second hit of the day for Bogaerts. He tallied his major league-leading seventh double of the season in the first inning to drive in a pair of runs. The six RBI represents a career-high in a game for Bogaerts. That’s through only two at-bats! He might not be done today.
Bogaerts must have felt an extra bit of satisfaction that his grand slam came against Jacob Faria. The Tampa Bay Rays starter struck Bogaerts on the hand with a pitch on July 6 of last season. Bogaerts refused to spend a stint on the disabled list to recover but clearly wasn’t the same hitter the rest of the year. He was hitting .308 at the time, only to see his batting average plummet to .273 by the end of September.
The early returns this season prove Bogaerts is healthy and swinging the bat as well as he ever has. He’s back to being in the batting title race conversation. If he keeps this up, Bogaerts could be in store for a career year.