‘This is a World Series clubhouse’

HOUSTON – Kyle Schwarber seemed like an imperfect fit when the Red Sox acquired him at the trade deadline. But three months later, he ended up being their perfect match.

Two wins away from an unlikely World Series berth, the Red Sox lost three games in a row to the Astros and fell in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series with Friday night’s 5-0 loss. But they probably wouldn’t have gotten there without Schwarber, whose bats and leadership made a huge difference despite not having a natural positional position on the roster.

It has not yet been determined how long Schwarber’s influence will be felt in Boston. He signed a contract last winter with the nationals that includes a $ 11.5 million mutual option to be settled shortly after the World Series. And after an All-Star season between the Nationals and the Red Sox, it seems likely that Schwarber will hit the open market this winter.

But while Schwarber is likely to have a robust market, it is possible to return to Boston. And moments after Friday’s loss of ALCS, the 28-year-old expressed his desire to stay with the Red Sox.

“This is definitely a clubhouse that I could see myself wishing to stay in,” Schwarber said. “These guys are amazing. I said this, it’s two World Series teams doing it. This is a World Series clubhouse and I would love to hopefully see if that opportunity comes back. ”

Schwarber had a complicated transition to the Red Sox after they swapped pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez for him by the deadline. He was injured at the time with a hoarding injury that had kept him out since July 2nd. And Schwarber, who has primarily played left field in his career, did not have a natural positional stance on the team. So even though he resurrected, they made him try to learn first base.

The Red Sox considered Schwarber’s bats worth the risk, though it took some time to realize this effect. They dropped out of first place in the American League East in his absence, but when he finally debuted on August 13, he helped correct the ship. From then until the final day of the regular season, he scored .291 / .435 / .522 with seven homers, 18 RBIs and a .957 OPS over 41 games. His .435 base percentage was the third-best in baseball during this span.

Schwarber played sparingly at the start as manager Alex Cora tried to make his imperfect puzzles work. But he did everything he could to keep Schwarber’s bats in the lineup. His patient approach had an effect on the rest of the order. And inside the clubhouse, they welcomed him with open arms. Time and time again, Cora praised Schwarber’s leadership.

“It’s not easy being the new guy coming in, isn ‘t it?” Said Schwarber. “The thing is, I’ve never played with any of these guys before. No previous experience. These guys made it so easy for me to just get in. And I was hurt, as if they could all look at me sideways and think, why did we trade for a guy who was hurt, right?

“I just want to say thank you to the whole group. From the AC to the coaching staff to the players, to the front office, they all let me be myself. That’s the biggest thing. You get in a really good situation and you just want to shape yourself right in. You do not want to be a roadblock or an obstacle. You will not feel that the whole group needs to get to know you. It’s like I just want to cast in and go from there. ”

Schwarber also embraced the pressure of playing in Boston after many criticized the Red Sox’s trade deadline, and he went through growing pain at first base. In Game 3 of the Division Series against the Rays, he had a moment of signature.

After making a foul on a throw to Nathan Eovaldi at the start, he jumped back and made the same routine play later in the match. In doing so, he mocked himself, raised his hands in the air, pumped his fist, and then tipped his cap to the crowd at Fenway Park in a fun party.

“You need to be able to make fun of yourself,” Schwarber said afterwards.

He quickly became a fan favorite, especially in the town of Waltham. A joke created by the popular Section 10 podcast dubbing of Schwarber “Kyle from Waltham” eventually came to him. After hitting a grand slam in the Red Sox ‘ALCS Game 3 victory over the Astros, Schwarber wore a Waltham High School Hawks T-shirt to his follow-up press conference.

“I suppose my hometown is now Waltham,” joked Schwarber, of Middletown, Ohio. “Then go Hawks.”

Waltham -born or not, but Schwarber certainly made himself at home for three months in Boston. Now it remains to be seen whether his stay will be extended.

“We absolutely love having him,” Red Sox baseball manager Chaim Bloom said earlier this month. “He fits perfectly here.”

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