Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers hit a rocket for a home run.
Rafael Devers is no stranger to hitting the ball hard but the Boston Red Sox third baseman may have even surprised himself with the missile that he launched in Philadelphia.
Devers led off the top of the third inning with the Red Sox trailing by a run. After battling Phillies starter Zach Eflin to a 2-2 count, Devers crushed a high fastball to deep right field that struck the Toyota sign below the second deck to tie the game.
The Raffy rocket traveled an estimated 416 feet with an exit velocity of 116.5 mph. According to Statcast data provided by FanGraphs, that exit velocity is the highest of his career, topping the 116.3 mph he produced in 2018.
It’s also the third-hardest ball hit by a Red Sox player in the Statcast era, trailing only Hanley Ramirez (117.5 mph) and J.D. Martinez (116.7 mph) in 2018. Only 33 major league hitters have topped the exit velocity on the Devers home run since the statistic has been tracked.
Devers was in the elite tier in terms of smashing the ball during last year’s breakout campaign. He ranked in the top five percent of the league with a 92.5 mph average exit velocity. He’s seen a slight regression in that area this season but Devers is still in the top nine percent of the league at 92.1 mph.
The slugfest in Philadelphia wasn’t over. Devers went back-to-back with Alex Verdugo in the fifth inning to narrow the gap after the Phillies had pulled ahead again. Devers didn’t hit his second homer (108.8 mph) quite as hard as the first one but it traveled slightly further and went to the opposite field. Verdugo hammered his further than either of the balls that Raffy hit, depositing his home run 423 feet into the second deck in right field.
Not to be outdone, Bobby Dalbec hit one 425 feet to tie the game in the sixth inning. It was Dalbec’s fourth homer in eight career games. If he keeps up anything close to this pace, we might soon forget about all the strikeouts.
Devers narrowly missed the hat trick when he mashed a ball to deep right field that was just out of reach of Bryce Harper’s outstretched glove. He didn’t get quite enough to clear the fence but the RBI double off the wall temporarily gave the Red Sox a late lead.
The Phillies spoiled the big day by Devers with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh inning. Yes, a seventh-inning walk-off made possible by this year’s rule changes for doubleheaders. The shorter game cost the Red Sox more opportunities to stage another rally and prevented Devers from getting one more shot at a three-homer game.
The losses continue to pile up for the Red Sox but one of the silver linings of this miserable season has been watching young stars like Devers do amazing things on the field. I’m sure he’d rather have the win but setting a personal best with a mammoth home run isn’t a bad consultation prize.