Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, right, embraces relief pitcher Phillips Valdez after the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees in New York on Sunday night. Associated Press/Kathy Willens

The Red Sox had quite a weekend, sweeping the Yankees in New York for the first time in 10 years. Boston fans are taking this team seriously, many checking them out for the first time this season.

There were plenty of takeaways from the weekend, and a lot to think about as the Sox opened an eight-game homestand Monday night at Fenway Park with one of the best records in the major leagues:

This would be a good time for the Red Sox to firmly establish home-field advantage. Manager Alex Cora has long said the team needs to be better at Fenway, and the Sox have finally started to show signs of playing better at home. They are 17-13 at Fenway Park after a 5-3 win over the Marlins on Monday night. Surprisingly, that is the best home-field record in the AL East. The Yankees held that honor before the Sox swept Aaron Boone’s squad.

The sweep gave the Sox a 15-6 record in the division. More importantly they are 6-0 against the Yankees and first-place Rays. Along with playing better at home, the record against divisional opponents is a stat Cora has stressed with his team.

Monday night’s game marks the 60th game of the Red Sox season, matching the total number of games played in 2020. It is a good time to stop and appreciate the stunning turnaround for this team, which finished that forgettable season with a 24-36 record and the highest ERA in franchise history.

The stunning turnaround means Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom must now balance his long-term rebuilding plans with the opportunity to play October baseball this fall. Over the weekend he said he won’t sacrifice the long-term, but that he also knows he can’t miss an opportunity when it presents itself.

“As much as we’re in this for the long haul, every chance to make the postseason is important,” said Bloom. “We need to make sure we’re respecting the chance we have this year as well as all the chances we hope and expect to have in years to come.”

This doesn’t mean Bloom will wipe out the farm system to go for it this summer, but it might mean he won’t flip a key veteran at the end of his contract for future gains.

Despite the sweep, the Red Sox are still in search of a leadoff hitter. That job no longer belongs to Kiké Hernández. Monday marked the fifth straight game Hernández was out of the leadoff spot. Danny Santana isn’t the answer with his .205 on-base percentage. Bloom admitted they haven’t “found that one guy” yet.

Could Christian Arroyo be that guy? Arroyo pinch hit for Santana in the eight inning Sunday and started the rally that gave the Sox their first lead of the game with a pop fly that befuddled a trio of Yankees and fell to the ground for a double. Arroyo hit in the leadoff spot Monday and went 2 for 3 with two runs scores and two RBI. Bloom may have to find a player for the role before the July trade deadline, but for now it seems Arroyo would be worth a look now that his hand is feeling better since his return from the injured list.

Not that you needed more proof, but the weekend served as a reminder that Xander Bogaerts is one of the most underappreciated superstars Boston has known in recent years. He’s the baseball equivalent of Patrice Bergeron. He quietly leads on the field, and led the Red Sox to the win with his 10th inning two-out, two-run double Sunday night. He also knows when to speak up. Before the Yankees series, Brett Gardner, the longest tenured player on either side, said the Yankees had added motivation to beat Cora’s team because of his role in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal.

Appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter right after the game, Bogaerts said Gardner’s comments “kind of got us fueled up a little bit more.”

It was a pretty big statement on national TV for a normally quiet man. The kind of statement that says this team plans on playing meaningful baseball for weeks to come. Maybe even months.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

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