Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers set a record when he drove in four runs against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The Toronto Blue Jays must be thrilled that they are almost done with this series at Fenway Park. After wrapping up the finale of a four-game set this afternoon, the Jays won’t face the Boston Red Sox again until September, sparing them from being terrorized by Rafael Devers until then.
Devers continued to punish Blue Jays pitching with three hits last night to drive in four runs. That includes the go-ahead home run in the third inning and some desperately needed insurance runs in a game the Red Sox bullpen barely hung on to win.
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It’s been a breakout season for Devers and no team knows that better than the Jays. Devers is hitting a blistering .455 with a 1.409 OPS in 55 at-bats versus the Jays. He has 18 home runs this season, seven of which have come against Toronto. Devers doesn’t have more than one homer against any other team this season.
Those seven home runs tie Devers with Jim Rice (1983), Kevin Millar (2003), and Ortiz (2004, 2005, 2006) for the third-most by a Red Sox hitter in a single season against Toronto. Only Manny Ramirez (9 in 2001) and J.D. Martinez (8 in 2018) have done more damage with the long ball to Jays pitching in one season.
According to Red Sox Stats, Statcast clocked four balls put in play by Devers last night at over 100 mph. A screaming single to center was his hardest-hit ball with an exit velocity of 113 mph, driving in his fourth RBI of the game. He ripped a double at 112 mph to drive in two in the fourth inning. His opposite-field home run into the Monster seats was 103 mph. Even one of his outs was hammered, a 109 mph lineout to right field in his first plate appearance.
Devers leads the majors with 153 Hard Hit balls (95+ mph exit velocity), per Baseball Savant. His average exit velocity of 92.9 mph ranks 11th.
The three-hit performance raised Devers’ season batting average to .326, second in the American League behind DJ LeMahieu (.331). Devers ranks third in the league with 70 RBI and a .558 slugging percentage. He’s fourth with a .938 OPS and 73 runs scored.
Is there something about the Blue Jays that ignites a fire under Devers? Did he once go on a school field trip to Canada that went horribly wrong so he’s now taking it out on the nation’s only MLB team? Not based on last year’s results when he hit .220 with a .640 OPS and two home runs in 12 games against Toronto.
Devers is a different hitter this year, an elite hitter. He’s simply been hot during stretches when the Jays were on the schedule. The Red Sox have also faced Toronto more than any other team this year so Devers has had 14 appearances (12) starts to pile up all those RBI.
Devers already has the most RBI in a season against Toronto and he will undoubtedly add to that record total. With four more games with the Jays on the schedule, who knows what other records he could set at Toronto’s expense.