Rafael Devers is just 20 years old, and he somehow looks even younger. But the Boston Red Sox rookie appears to be playing well beyond his years.
The rookie third baseman now has six hits in his first six major league games (6-for-20, .300 batting average) with two home runs, three RBIs and four runs scored. More importantly, though, he looks comfortable at the plate. Devers came up in a big spot with runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth inning and Boston trailing by two. Rather than chase a bad pitch, the Dominican Republic native remained patient, drawing a walk to load the bases for Mookie Betts.
Betts couldn’t cash in, but that at-bat didn’t go unnoticed by manager John Farrell.
“He’s calm,” Farrell said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He’s been very good defensively — (Saturday) night, yes, there was a throwing miscue — but he starts a couple of double plays (Sunday). His first-step quickness and reaction off the bat has been better than anticipated, to be honest with you.
“But then when you look at the calmness in the box, even in the ninth inning where he gets ahead in the count and didn’t expand. He’s doing a very good job.”
The Red Sox have limited options at third base outside utility man Eduardo Nunez, so Devers appears entrenched in the starting role for the foreseeable future. If this brief sample size is any indication, though, he’s fully up to the task.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Red Sox-Royals:
— Matt Barnes took the brunt of the damage in Boston’s bullpen collapse, getting charged with four runs (three earned) in a rough eighth inning that cost Boston the game. Farrell was asked if he considered bringing closer Craig Kimbrel in for an extended save, but the Sox manager stuck by his decision to go with Barnes.
“No, not right there,” Farrell said. “Matt Barnes has been very good for us in the short look, 13 or 14 outings where he’s been very good. He’s been in that role, he’s pitched the eighth inning the majority of this season and has had good success against both lefties and righties. So, that was Barnes’ spot.”
— If you’re a “glass half full” kind of person, Sunday’s bullpen implosion actually was a rarity for the 2017 Sox.
— The Red Sox celebrated their 2007 World Series champion team with a nice ceremony before Sunday’s game. David Ortiz was among the former players in attendance, and Big Papi stopped by NESN’s broadcast booth in the second inning to chat with Dave O’Brien and Jonny Gomes.
And when Mitch Moreland drove in the first Boston run, Ortiz left his mark as only he can.
— Boston’s loss didn’t drop the club any further in the American League East standings, as the New York Yankees also lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. The Red Sox still trail the first-place Yankees by a half game.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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