The Red Sox didn’t make any progress in their race for an AL wild card slot on Saturday, but Xander Bogaerts still gave them something to celebrate. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the hot-hitting shortstop slashed a J.A. Happ fastball into the right field gap for his 168th hit of the season and the 1,000th of his major-league career.
It’s been a banner year for the 26-year-old All-Star, who hit some career-best marks with a hearty .309/.385/.570 batting line, 31 home runs, .955 OPS, and 6.4 fWAR across 618 plate appearances in 2019. And hit no. 1,000 came at an interesting time, too: According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Bogaerts joins Hall of Famer center fielder Tris Speaker (1,134 hits) and second baseman Bobby Doerr (1,151) as the only Red Sox players to collect at least 1,000 hits with the club before their 27th birthdays.
Bogaerts will undoubtedly try to add to that total when the Red Sox face off against the Yankees during the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The team is still a solid 6.5 games out of an AL wild card spot, with the Rays, Athletics, and Indians well ahead of them.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.