Rafael Devers had a five hit night including a grand slam. The 21-year-old Red Sox phenom made history at Yankee Stadium last night.
After Friday night’s drumming, it was hard to be upbeat in Red Sox Nation. Eduardo Rodriguez got knocked around. The offense was shut down by a 438-year-old C.C. Sabathia. It was just an ugly night all around. But the Red Sox got up off the mat and started punching back, pulling the series even with an 11-0 blowout. Driven by Rafael Devers having an historic night, the team reminded fans that they are every bit as good as the Yankees. In what might be a postseason preview, we also got a sneak peek at a future Red Sox superstar.
His night included going 5-5 with a grand slam, something no one as young as him had ever done at any Yankee Stadium before. Devers’ season has been up and down for sure. From trade rumors, to a well publicized change in his swing mechanics, to righting the ship, he has been all over the spectrum. But the Red Sox are intent on sticking with him. And it’s a good thing, too, because missing out on last night would have been incredibly tragic.
Let’s break it down.
We’ll get to the best part in a bit, but first, let’s look at the thing no one is talking about. His rangy play at third. Yes, Devers makes plenty of errors, mostly on throws, but the kid has excellent range. In fact, he has the tools to be an above average defender overall if he keeps working at it.
Beyond that, there were the five hits in five plate appearances that went for three singles, a double, and a grand slam. The double was nearly his second home run of the night, but Aaron Judge swatted it back into the field of play with a great leap at the wall. It would have been a highlight reel catch if he had made it. As it stands, he saved a run. All five of Devers’ hits were smoked, coming in at 97.9, 99.2, 105.2, 105.3 and 106.9 MPH.
I’ll let you guess which was the home run. Go ahead. Take a stab at it. Which one do you think it was? It was the 97.9 MPH “blast” that traveled 356 feet. As Chris Cotillo pointed out, it didn’t even have a 50% chance of being a hit. But that’s Yankee Stadium.
Whatever. Gives us a look at the home run!
While not a mammoth blast, it counts all the same. With the bases loaded in the first inning, Devers stepped into the box and dug in. He fell behind 1-2 when Sonny Gray threw him this pitch:
To be fair, with a 30 degree launch angle, and being that close to the left field foul pole, that ball may have gotten out at Fenway too. The height of the Green Monster might have kept him to a double. But at a minimum, he’s standing on second base. Regardless, at 21 years old, Rafael Devers is showing why some believe he can be one of the best hitters in all of baseball.
The teams square off for the rubber match tonight with David Price taking the mound against Luis Severino. With a 149 wRC+, 5 HR and 6 2B in 19 games since J.D. Martinez fixed his swing on June 10, Devers figures to make an impact on the outcome.
Do you see the Red Sox taking the series tonight? Is his run since closing his stance what we can expect going forward? Let us know in the comments!