If the Boston Red Sox are going to pick themselves up and go anywhere this season, they’ll need Rafael Devers to perform like the Rafael Devers of 2019.
The last two games suggest that, just maybe, the star third baseman is about to go off.
Devers on Wednesday finished 3-for-4 including a two-run homer and an RBI double in the Red Sox’s 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway Park. It was the second consecutive three-hit game for the 23-year-old, who was one of the best hitters in baseball last season.
Most encouraging is the kind of contact Devers is making. Neither of the three-hit games were cheap. Devers is making hard, loud contact — his homer Wednesday was a rocket to center field off Jake Arrieta — while driving the ball to all fields.
Obviously, the Red Sox need much more than just Devers to pull themselves out of the enormous hole they’re in. First and foremost, they need better pitching.
That said, hitting can be contagious, and a return to form for arguably the team’s best hitter could be just what the Red Sox offense needs to turn things around.
Here are other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Phillies game:
— Alex Verdugo went for 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and making some history in the process.
“It’s just a day-by-day thing,” Verdugo told Guerin Austin, as seen on NESN’s post game coverage. “I think, yeah, my swing is definitely getting better. I’m starting to be on time with a lot more pitches. … Personally, I feel good, I feel locked in.”
— Kyle Hart was good enough in his second big league start, allowing two runs on two hits and four walks while striking out five over 3 2/3 innings. Hart was pounded by the Tampa Bay Rays last week in his debut.
“Personally, I felt there was some improvement as a whole,” he told reporters after the game. ” … As poorly as I started, was able to keep us in there and give us a chance.
” … If you took a snapshot of the line, I’m not super thrilled, obviously with the walks. The fact that i had a horrible first inning, went down and sat in the tunnel, said to myself, ‘I’m going to turn this in to a five-inning game, give the best fine innings i have.”
— Mitch Moreland picked up two hits while continuing his red-hot start to the season. In fact, among all American League hitters with at least 50 plate appearances, Moreland ranks first with a 1.238 OPS. He’s been one of the game’s best hitters.