Top hitting prospect Michael Chavis came through with a pinch-hit double to help put the Boston Red Sox in position to win in his MLB debut.
Welcome to the big leagues, Michael Chavis. The top hitting prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization could be here to stay after playing a pivotal role in a thrilling win over the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday night.
Chavis wasn’t expected to make his major league debut until tomorrow but the right set of circumstances aligned for him to get his chance early. With the score knotted at five in the top of the ninth inning, Chavis pinch-hit for catcher Sandy Leon with a man on and one out.
No pressure, right, kid? No problem, says Chavis. Rays closer Jose Alvarado got ahead in the count before throwing a sinker that didn’t quite sink enough. Chavis went down and got it, ripping a double to deep center. Former Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermaier got turned around on the fly ball, allowing it to sneak over his head to the wall. Jackie Bradley Jr. raced from first to third, putting two in scoring position with only one out.
Andrew Benintendi, who hit his first career grand slam in the second inning, came through once again by hitting a sac fly to put Boston back ahead. Benny will get the credit for driving in the game-winning run but it doesn’t happen without the clutch hitting from Chavis.
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A shaky performance by the bullpen continued with Ryan Brasier in the bottom of the inning but the co-closer worked around a pair of singles to nail down the final three outs for the save. Boston’s second consecutive win in Tampa Bay clinches their first series win of the season. It’s the only series the first-place Rays have lost this season. Regardless of how Sunday pans out, this has been a successful trip to Tampa.
Tomorrow will be another milestone for Chavis, who we still expect to make his first official major league start. Manager Alex Cora hasn’t tipped his hand as to what position Chavis will play. He’s a third baseman by trade but would be capable on the other side of the diamond at first and has been learning second base in Triple-A Pawtucket.
It seemed likely that Rafael Devers would get a breather with Chavis taking over at the hot corner. However, Mitch Moreland left tonight’s game with back spasms. If Mitchy Two Bags isn’t good to go tomorrow, could Chavis take his place at first base? Steve Pearce took over for Moreland tonight but the Red Sox may be hesitant to plug him back in the lineup against right-handed pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Now that Chavis is available, why not start him at first and save Pearce for some late lightning against a lefty reliever later in the game?
We may not know what position he’ll be playing but we do know Chavis can hit. He’s been tearing it up in the minors the last few years and his clutch double in his first career plate appearance proves he won’t shy away from the bright lights of the major league stage.