Triston Casas had shown what he can do defensively in his debut, but on Tuesday night, he showed why he’s deserving of the hype.
The Red Sox’s No. 2 prospect hit a two-run home run in Boston’s 8-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tommy Pham added in a two-run homer of his own in the eighth inning, but Casas was the lone bright spot for Boston. The first baseman, again, showed off his defensive prowess, turning a Yandy Diaz grounder into a double play in the bottom of the eighth inning.
But it was his first major league home run that put him in the record books. Casas, 22, became the youngest Red Sox first baseman to hit a home run since George Scott on Sept. 6, 1966, according to Boston Sports Info.
“Yeah, good at-bat,” manager Alex Cora told reporters on Casas’ homer, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Three-two, he covered a pitch up in the zone and he got it out of the ballpark. You see the quality of the at-bats. He knows the strike zone. I know he struck out a few times today, but they’re deep counts, stay away from certain areas. This is what he is. He’s a guy that understands the strike zone, and he’s gonna keep learning.”
In just three games, Casas has shown a lot of promise to Boston fans. Cora and his Red Sox teammates have been impressed with his poise and understanding of the game, and teams have attempted to try to rattle the 22-year-old.
“You see it, he spread out, he uses the whole field,” Cora said on Casas’ defensive performance. “It’s a good learning experience. That’s a good pitching staff, and he’s gonna see that the rest of the month. We play the Rays, and Baltimore, and the (New York) Yankees and Toronto. It’s a good introduction to the AL East, and he’s gonna learn a lot this month.”
Here are more notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— There were some formalities to get across before Casas’ home run ball was retrieved by a fan, who, despite wearing a Rays jersey, was actually a Chicago White Sox fan. Read more details about the ordeal here.
“It felt pretty surreal,” Casas told reporters on rounding the bases after his dinger. “I honestly couldn’t believe it happened. I guess I’ve never really hit a home run at a 96 mile an hour exit (velocity), so I didn’t think it was gonna go. It felt awesome just to get us back in the game.”
— Xander Bogaerts entered Tuesday’s game as the American League batting leader. The shortstop left the game in the sixth inning 0-for-3 from the plate, breaking his nine-game streak of multi-hit games, which was tied for a franchise record. Cora said after the game, Bogaerts had back spasms and would miss the series finale Wednesday.
— Tuesday’s loss drops the Red Sox to 4-11 against the Rays this season and 18-38 against AL East opponents. Boston is also 1-8 at Tropicana Field this season.
— Drew Rasmussen was scheduled to start Tuesday, but he was put on paternity leave, and the Rays relied on their bullpen against Boston.
— The Red Sox end the series against the Rays on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game using NESN 360, along with an hour of pregame.