USA Today Sports

Rafael Devers adds to Red Sox' winning ways

Rob Bradford
August 08, 2018 - 10:09 pm

TORONTO -- What if Rafael Devers is really, really good?

The Red Sox won Wednesday night -- because that's what they do -- beating the Blue Jays, 10-5, at Rogers Centre. Since that Sunday night debacle in the Bronx on July 1, this is a team that has won 25 of its 30 games. The Sox sit 47 games over .500, with 81 wins. (For a complete recap, click here.)

And along the way, the Red Sox got a taste of how life might be even better.

Devers reemerged from his hamstring injury and picked up where he left off in his one-game rehab stint with Single-A Lowell, lining a double in his first at-bat, walking in his second, and launching his 16th homer of the season in Round 3.

To this point, the third baseman's first full big league season has been uneven. Offensively, he hasn't been the threat displayed for much of the final two months of 2017. And with the glove, well, that hasn't been great, leading all major leaguers with 20 errors.

But with the Red Sox winning, and Devers still having been on this planet just 21 years, patience has been easy to come by. Prior to Wednesday night's game, Alex Cora reminded the media two things: 1. Devers is indeed 21 years old; and 2. Adrian Beltre made 29 errors in his rookie season.

Perhaps the patience is about to pay off.

It was promising that Devers hit that home run Monday night at LeLacheur Park and that he could turn in the kind of performance witnessed in the Red Sox' latest win. But the true optimism should have come in what he did in the five games prior to hurting that hamstring. During the stretch -- from July 23-28 -- the lefty hitter batted .368 with 1.008 OPS and one pivotal home run.

"We were joking with him, he only played one game in the minor leagues and he hit a home run in his last at-bat, he hit three ground balls," Cora said. "It's cool to see him around, he brings a lot of joy to the game, a lot of smiles in the clubhouse, everybody's happy, he's like the little brother. For him to go out there and perform it's good to see."

The Red Sox can probably survive without Devers, as was evident in Cora's club going 7-1 without the starting third baseman. But considering the offense managed a modest .254 batting average and .780 OPS in his absence, an influx of youth along the lines of what Devers supplied last August could certainly go a long way.

"He brings fun," said Mookie Betts of Devers. "He’s a young kid who’s laughing and you just enjoy being around him. Any time you have somebody young like that laughing and enjoying it, it kind of helps you sit back and enjoy it too."

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