You might as well just go ahead and refer to this year’s American League All-Star Team as the Boston Red Sox, because they’re shipping five to Denver this year.
After Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers on Thursday were named starters in Major League Baseball’s 2021 Midsummer Classic, making history as the first shortstop and third baseman in franchise history to do so, they were notified of some company.
On Sunday, designated hitter J.D. Martinez, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and closer Matt Barnes were named All-Stars as well. It was the first time Eovaldi and Barnes had earned the distinction.
Alex Cora told reporters he got to celebrate with the team before Sunday’s game, and expressed what the moment meant to him as a manager.
“One of the coolest days as a manager is to get everybody together and, first things first, to praise the team,” Cora said via Zoom after a 1-0 pitchers duel against the Oakland Athletics.
“We haven’t had too many meetings this year, but just to let him know how proud I am, you know? We got some deserving guys, other guys that didn’t make it, just to let them know how good they’ve been throughout the season. We still got work to do but sometimes you got to take a step back and let them know how good they are.”
Boston definitely had others like outfielders Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe, who also took part in fan voting, and Nick Pivetta, who started Sunday and absolutely dealt in the shutout.
But the five Boston players represent more than any other team in baseball.
“The five, we know about Raffy and Xander, but Barnsy, he’s been in the organization for a lot of years, and the fact that now he’s closer, and he’s doing this job, it’s amazing,” Cora said.
“J.D., a lot of people gave up on him last year. I told you guys I bet you $1 that he was going to have a good season. So you guys can send me the money to the clubhouse, whenever you guys can. He’s one of the best hitters in the big leagues. He is a proud individual, too. And he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. He does. And Nate, what can you say. You can ask Nick (Pivetta) what he means to our team, to our rotation, to everything that we do. From competing every five days to his wife baking cakes every Sunday for us, or baking cakes for whenever there’s a birthday, you know? He cares about everybody. Everyone.”
The All-Star Game is slated for July 13 at Coors Field in Denver.