Rafael Devers absence from Red Sox lineup continues to show how top-heavy roster is

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox's lineup from June 9 was about as brutal as fans have seen all year. The team is banged up, and the injured list seems to get longer each week.

Rafael Devers missed Boston's series finale against the Chicago White Sox due to knee discomfort. The third baseman confirmed that the ailment is affecting the same knee that had him sidelined with a bone bruise earlier in the season.

Much like it did after losing Trevor Story, Boston's defense collapsed without Devers. The Red Sox made three errors against the White Sox in the series finale — they came in quick succession and Boston immediately paid the price.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Dominic Smith blocked an extra-base hit, but his throw to Justin Slaten at first flew wide. Then, David Hamilton fielded a grounder, but his flip to Enmanuel Valdez ended up short. Reese McGuire finished the barrage of errors with an air-mailed pickoff attempt to first base.

Paul DeJong followed Boston's series of blunders with a three-run homer. The Red Sox gave free runs to baseball's worst team and were in danger of losing the series.

The Red Sox's defense fell apart without Rafael Devers on June 9

Boston's second defensive implosion rivals its first — the Red Sox are nothing without veteran leadership in-game, but it has strikingly little leadership in the first place. Devers' absence highlighted his importance to the team on both sides of the ball.

Devers is hardly a lights-out defender, but he makes the Red Sox's other infield options look like the backups they are. Hamilton, Valdez, and Smith or Garrett Cooper are not the answers in the infield and they never were. The Red Sox lost their only star, which made the White Sox look like a competitive team.

Devers reported that his knee injury isn't serious and that his absence was precautionary. He should be back in the Red Sox lineup on June 11 to face the MLB-leading Phillies, which is more than a relief. If Boston can't keep it together against the White Sox, the Phillies will be a monster of a challenge, especially without Devers' offense or infield experience to keep his teammates' heads in the game.

Jarren Duran and Devers are the only ones keeping the Red Sox above water. It's early, but Boston is still very much in the postseason race, but it won't be for long if management continues to deny them competent backup. Unfortunately, buy-in from ownership seems about as likely as the Red Sox's infield earning any Gold Gloves.

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