Maybe Rafael Devers not getting a spot in the All-Star Game was a blessing in disguise.
Reason being, it certainly looks like a few days away from the ballpark had little effect on the scorching hot Boston Red Sox third baseman.
In fact, Devers picked up right where he left off after a monster first half, helping the Sox to an 8-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. The 22-year-old went deep in his first at-bat of the second half, sending a ball the other way over the Monster for his 17th home run of the season.
Devers’ homer was his 26th go-ahead RBI of the season, leading the Sox. He is slugging .915 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 11 games (.447 AVG, 21-for-47, 16 runs, seven doubles) and is slashing .411/.451/.779/1.230 in 23 games since June 11 (39-for-95).
The Sox finished the first half on a four-game winning streak, and Friday was the first step in climbing out of the hole that still sits in front of them.
“Just picking up from where we left off. We finished strong to end the first half of the season, and now we wanted to come out to win this game and get out on the right foot to start this second half,” Devers told Guerin Austin through a translator on NESN’s postgame coverage.
“I feel great, I’m just picking up where I left off,” he added. “I’m healthy, which is the most important part, but I’m just lucky to be able to play this game, and I feel really good batting right now and good overall.”
Devers was the story through much of the first half, drawing the praise of David Ortiz. And if the Red Sox are to mount a comeback in the second half, Devers likely will have to continue at his current pace.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Dodgers game:
— Eduardo Rodriguez leads the Red Sox in wins.
After arguably his best outing of the season, the lefty’s win total sits at 10 games. He displayed some of his best stuff, generating a season-high 22 swings and misses Friday night.
— Christian Vazquez’s power surge in 2019 has been something to behold.
And while Vazquez is raising his own bar, blowing past his career high in home runs before the All-Star break, he’s also the first Red Sox catcher to produce some power in quite a few years. Vazquez’s 15 home runs is the most by a Red Sox catcher since Jarred Saltalamacchia, who hit 25 in 2012.
At Vazquez’s pace, reaching that number is not outside the realm of possibility.
— Sam Mewis and Alyssa Naeher, two members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, threw out the first pitch before Friday’s game.
Both players are from New England, with Mewis hailing from Hanson, Mass., and Naeher from Bridgeport, Conn.
— While there was the All-Star break in between, the Sox have sat through rain delays in three of their last four games.
— The Red Sox now have won five straight games, and six of their last seven.
There still is a considerable hole to dig out of in the American League East, but the Red Sox are playing some of their best baseball at the moment.