Clay Buchholz serving up a grand slam and Roenis Elias coming out for the ninth inning of Saturday’s game notwithstanding, the scariest moment thus far in this Red Sox-Astros series was the sight of Xander Bogaerts getting floored by a Luke Gregerson up-and-in pitch on Friday night.
At first glance, the pitch seemed to knock him in the face before he dropped to the ground; as it turns out, thankfully, the ball only got his wrist. X sat out yesterday but is expected to play tonight.
Still, it was a terrifying moment, a reminder that while a decidedly less “dangerous” sport than, say, football, baseball can give rise to some horrible injuries. Having witnessed Bryce Florie and Matt Clement knocked down and out (not to mention the innocent bird that a Randy Johnson fastball erased from existence), I always feel that knot in my gut when a player hits the deck.
The Xander HBP also got me thinking about the last time a Red Sox player was felled by a pitch to the dome, and the best my memory could come up with was… Xander Bogaerts, back in 2014 when King Felix came up-and-in on X. (Perhaps not coincidentally, it happened right after Xander almost went yard off Felix with a foul ball over the left field foul pole).
That was another scary moment, and one with far more dire consequences, as X was out for at least a week with a concussion. When he came back, however, Xander hit like a man reborn, ending a bland 2014 on a positive note.
It might be too early for Aruba to officially declare war on the United States. But if Xander takes another hit above the shoulders, all bets are off.
[Note: If my memory does not serve me, and another Sox player has been hit by an up-and-in pitch between Xander’s episodes, please disregard this entire post.]