The Boston Red Sox struggled mightily upon returning from the Major League Baseball All-Star break, and a lack of offense was one of the primary reasons why.
The Red Sox simply couldn’t string multiple hits together, and scored three runs or less in seven of their first 14 games after the break. But the Red Sox’s bats suddenly have found a spark, in large part due to a 20-year-old prospect and a player acquired via trade that went fairly under the radar.
Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez both have been red hot since arriving in Boston, and have helped the Sox post a three-game winning streak, with the latest victory coming in Thursday night’s 9-5 win over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
Nunez, who the Sox acquired in a deal with the San Francisco Giants on July 25, wasn’t viewed as much more than a utility player. The veteran infielder was brought in to help fill the void at third base, but his role in Boston already has become larger than expected. Nunez has filled in at second base as Dustin Pedroia resides on the 10-day disabled list, and his spot in the middle of the Red Sox’s batting order certainly has paid dividends.
Through his first six games with the Sox, Nunez is batting .481 with 10 RBIs, four doubles and two home runs in 27 at-bats. And as expected, he’s played flawless defense. Nunez likely would be receiving all of the attention for his impressive start in a Red Sox uniform, but he’s been forced to share the spotlight with Devers amid the rookie’s remarkable start in the big leagues.
Devers, who doesn’t turn 21 until late October, has shown the poise of a seasoned veteran through his first eight games at the major league level. In 32 at-bats, he’s batting .406 with three home runs and six RBIs. Two of Devers’ three long balls particularly have been impressive, as he’s gone the opposite way and deposited the ball over the Green Monster.
After Thursday’s game, Devers spoke about how he’s used the left-field wall to his advantage.
“The Green Monster definitely affects me in a positive way,” he said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “Being able to torch the wall and give me some extra-base hits has been clutch.”
Both Devers and Nunez certainly have been clutch since joining the Red Sox, and the team surely hopes this trend continues as the season enters the home stretch.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-White Sox.
— Each of the Red Sox’s starting nine recorded a hit Thursday, and eight of nine scored at least one run.
— Boston’s bullpen retired all 11 batters faced and lowered its collective ERA to 2.97, good for the third-lowest in the majors.
— Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. He now has 12 games with three-plus hits this season, which leads the Red Sox.
— Boston now is 33-20 at Fenway, the best home winning percentage in the American League.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images