Protect Rafael Devers at all costs.
As the Boston Red Sox have lost 11 players and a few coaches to the COVID-19 related injured list, the third baseman has been a huge reason why the team has managed to stay afloat with a roster filled out by Triple-A talent.
So when the Red Sox were trying to “go for the jugular” — as manager Alex Cora put it — they used Devers on his off day to pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth amid a five-run comeback Sunday.
It didn’t work out as Boston hoped, but despite the loss to the Cleveland Indians, the slugger essentially got a day off while the Red Sox maintained ground in the standings. And hopefully, they kept Devers safe in the process.
“They’re doing an amazing job and it’s weird here in the clubhouse,” Cora said via Zoom. “You know, you get in — it’s funny because today was (Devers) off day, right? And we were like, ‘Hey man, hit and then hide somewhere, you know? Get in a bubble and stay away from everybody.’ And he did.”
With 11 players already quarantined, including Xander Bogaerts and Kiké Hernández, the Red Sox offense certainly can’t afford to lose Devers, too.
Devers on Saturday hit his 33rd home run of the year, a new career-high for the third baseman, in Boston’s second game of the series against the Indians, and is batting .274 on the season with an .891 OPS and 100 RBIs.
Hopefully he’ll be around as the Red Sox begin another three-game series against the first place Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.