Rafael Devers continues to develop into one of the best young hitters in Major League Baseball.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that the Boston Red Sox third baseman is 22 years old. Devers is in just his second full season in the bigs and has been entrusted to anchor high-leverage spots on Alex Cora’s lineup card.
Batting third in a must-win game against the Astros, Devers went 2-for-4 with a home run to help the Sox grab a 4-1 win on Sunday. That’s been the kind of season Devers has had the plate, with scorching hot numbers through the month of May.
Devers is batting .452 over his last seven games, raising his average to .330, and has clubbed all seven of his home runs this month. He took Justin Verlander deep in Sunday’s win, just a day after getting robbed of a home run by the roof at Minute Maid Park.
“I mean, he’s great, he’s been doing well. He put a great swing on (Verlander),” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He made some adjustments. He had the homer. But probably he’s not pleased. He had second and third less than two outs and he hit a pop up. So that’s a cool thing right now, he’s taking ownership he’s understanding what he means to our lineup and he’s going to keep getting better.”
Devers has registered extra-base hits in each of his last six games and went 13-for-27 (.481) with four homers, eight RBIs and eight runs during this six-game road stint.
The lefty leads Major League Baseball with 88 hard-hit balls (95+ mph exit velocity), 50 of which have come in May.
Entering Sunday, Devers hadn’t much success in the three-hole, going just 4-for-21, but he looked awfully comfortable there Sunday, which gives Cora another solid left-handed option for the middle of the lineup.
Here are some other notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Astros game:
— Eduardo Rodriguez earned his fifth win of the season in a pretty bang up job.
Facing up against one of the best pitchers in baseball, Rodriguez went blow for blow against Justin Verlander, allowing just one run over six innings with five strikeouts.
Sunday was Rodriguez’s 100th career start, and the Sox have seen a pretty decent amount of success when the southpaw takes the ball.
— After a sloppy night Saturday, Boston’s bullpen bounced back nicely.
Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes and Marcus Walden combined for three scoreless innings to nail down the win.
Walden picked up his first save of the season, becoming the fifth Red Sox pitcher to earn a save this season.
— Eduardo Nunez filled in admirably with Xander Bogaerts getting the day off.
Nunez went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. He and Devers were the only Boston hitters with multiple knocks.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images