Just by looking at the box score from Tuesday night’s Boston Red Sox game, it’s clear to see why the future is bright with third baseman Rafael Devers in the mix.
The 22-year-old had a sensational game, going 6-for-6 with four doubles and three RBIs in Boston’s dramatic 7-6 win over the Cleveland Indians.
But it was Devers’ hustle on a fifth-inning double that should really serve as the latest example the Red Sox have a potential franchise player in the young infielder.
Devers’ six-hit night of perfection came to be in part by a stroke of luck. His fifth-inning ground ball up the middle just evaded the glove of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and bounced into center field. Devers, sprinting out of the box, kept the legs moving and stretched the softly hit grounder into a double.
The play quite literally defied the odds — the soft ground ball had an expected batting average of .100, per Baseball Savant — and Devers did all he could to maximize the play. It represented an attitude the Red Sox desperately need to improbably climb back into the playoff race, and it’s the sort of mentality that could help Devers evolve into a leader inside the Red Sox clubhouse.
The play didn’t go unnoticed by Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy, who circled back to the play in the sixth inning following a far more conventional Devers double.
“You know, one of my favorite parts of this game, and I mentioned it, was the Devers hustle to second base on the double,” Remy said on the NESN broadcast. “What it shows me — and I think it’s a great example — the club’s not playing well, it has not been playing well, but you continue to try as hard as you possibly can. You continue to hustle, and that was a great example by Devers, to me, to the rest of the ball club that ‘I’m going hard all the time and we all gotta go hard all the time until there’s no more time to go.’”
If the Red Sox are going to turn things around — and that remains a big if, even after Tuesday night’s win — Devers undoubtedly will play a big role in helping to do, both tangibly and intangibly. Regardless of what happens this season, though, Devers’ performance Tuesday is a great example of the sort of player the Sox should be able to build around moving forward.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images