The result for the Boston Red Sox wasn’t favorable Saturday night, but there were some encouraging takeaways from the game.
Rafael Devers looked good at the plate in the Red Sox’s 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday at Progressive Field. And though Devers only had a 1-for-5 line to show for it, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. In addition to clubbing a solo home run in the third inning, Devers put solid contact on quite a few swings.
Although he remains a work in progress, it’s clear Devers has a remarkably high ceiling, especially at the plate. It was apparent Saturday that when he keeps from chasing pitches out of the strike zone, good things can happen for him.
That long has been something Sox manager Alex Cora has harped on, even going as far as rewarding him with restaurant gift cards for staying in the zone. And though the Red Sox fell, that didn’t stop Cora from sharing a positive analysis of Devers’ performance.
“Since he came back, like I said, he’s been very disciplined,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “That first at-bat he chased a breaking ball down in the zone and you could see he understands that for him to be successful he has to stay in the zone. He’s doing a good job putting good at-bats. … He’s doing good, he’s doing good. We’re very happy with the progress.
“We’re comfortable with him,” Cora continued. “The more disciplined he is the better he is, I do feel that he’s been able to slow down the game. He’s not anxious in the batter’s box, you can see he’s in control and that’s great to see.”
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Indians game:
— Rick Porcello didn’t have his best stuff Saturday night and was hit around the park as a result. Though the Indians had just four runs to show for it (three earned), he was tagged for eight hits with two walks and just one strikeout over five innings.
The righty noted after the game that he struggled to get in a groove and got behind in counts, which played a role in his tough showing. Porcello’s usually pretty reliable, but he’s in the bit of a rough patch. He hasn’t been efficient with his pitches and in turn hasn’t been going too deep into games, something that usually is his calling card.
— Drew Pomeranz was on the mound for the fateful 11th inning.
The left-hander fell victim to some poor luck at first, as Yan Gomes got a leadoff single due to a poor throw from Devers. After Greg Allen singled, he and Rajai Davis, who pinch-ran for Gomes, perfectly executed a double steal to get to second and third with no one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases, and Michael Brantley lifted a walk-off single to left to end the game.
The performance was the continuation of some poor pitching from Pomeranz, who in a contract year has been marred by injury and poor execution.
— Boston had a chance to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but their loss coupled with the Houston Astros’ win put that on hold until at least Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images