Author Topic: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted  (Read 87 times)

Offline Murph

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Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
« on: May 14, 2019, 09:11:51 AM »

Mason: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted

Chris Mason 13 hrs ago
 Mason: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
Rafael Devers is hitting .426 in May. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Around the Horn is a weekly column from Chris Mason, where the Eagle-Tribune beat writer offers nine thoughts from the Red Sox clubhouse.

The Sox have won 11 of their last 13, so this week’s installment focuses on Alex Cora's club finally looking like itself again.

1. Don't take Devers for granted

Rafael Devers is still just 22 years old.

It's easy to forget because this is his third season as a full-timer at Fenway Park, but in the baseball world, Devers is still very, very young. And his ceiling remains very, very high.

A white-hot month of May has his batting average sitting at .336, Devers has driven in 13 runners in his last 10 games, and Mookie Betts has struck out more times (26) than he has this season (24).

For perspective, Michael Chavis, who made his big league debut last month, is 10 months older than Devers.

So while the third baseman is still enduring growing pains in the field, it's important to remember most kids his age would be making errors in front of a few hundred fans at a Hartford Yard Goats game. 

2. Sox are feeling it

Yes, it's a weak stretch of schedule, but the Red Sox aren't just beating opponents — they're throttling them.

On a 13-4 run, the Sox have outscored their competition by 70 runs. So what's going right for the reigning World Champs?

“I think confidence," J.D. Martinez told reporters after Sunday's win. "The starting pitching has really locked it in, really settled in to themselves. I think we, offensively, did the same thing.”

3. A weird milestone

Fenway Park has been far from a home run haven early in the season; a frigid start has killed plenty of fly balls on the warning track.

So when Martinez belted a pair of homers in that 11-2 win, they were actually his first of the season at home.

“Is that right?" Martinez replied. "I didn’t even know that. Definitely weird. I always like hitting here, always enjoy playing in this ballpark, so it’s definitely weird.”

4. Hats off to Mrs. Cora

Before the game on Mother's Day, Cora opened up about the role baseball has played in his relationship with his mom, Iris.

"My mom has a Hall of Fame," Cora began. "It’s all the stuff from (brother) Joey at Vanderbilt. All my stuff at Miami. She has every hat that we use throughout our careers and then all the special stuff. It’s pretty cool.

"She’s awesome," Cora added. "She loves the game, that’s what we did, my dad, you guys know my dad, she was there the whole time, when he passed away she took over. She doesn’t get enough credit."

5. Cora stays steady

As the Red Sox faceplanted out of the gate, Cora reiterated that he knew his team was going to be fine.

Now that they've righted the ship, was there any point that the manager began to doubt that?

“Me? Not at all," Cora said. "You have to stay disciplined. Like I have been saying all along, last year we didn’t get caught up on the record we had and this year we didn’t get caught up on the start. We still have work to do. That’s the good thing about it. We know where we are at this point, but we can get better." 

6. Another road block for Pedey?

After feeling soreness in his surgically-repaired knee, Dustin Pedroia was returned from his rehab assignment in Portland and remains on the 10-day Injured List.

The Sox are downplaying the severity of any setback, though.

"He doesn’t feel it’s something major," Cora said. "He’s being smart about it. He’s not going to take chances at this point.”

7. 'A personality start'

Since opening the season 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA, Rick Porcello has figured some things out and started to click.

His Saturday afternoon appearance was the rockiest in a while — he gave up four runs in the first — but Porcello was pleased with his ability to settle down and pitch into the seventh inning.

"I liked this start today," Porcello said after a 9-5 win. "It was kind of a personality start, for all of us.”

8. Sox are winning with Sandy

After a catching carousel this spring, the Red Sox have really settled in when Sandy Leon is behind the plate.

They're 7-2 in his starts, and after homering on Saturday, Leon said his mindset was simple.

"Just win the game," Leon said. "Do my stuff behind the plate and trying to help the team to win the game."

9. Sale is making 'em proud

It's been almost a month since Chris Sale told us he was pitching so bad it was embarrassing for his family.

His four starts since?

Sale has struck out 42 batters in 26 innings and posted a 1.73 ERA. They can sure as heck be proud of that.

Offline SeaBeachFred

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Re: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 12:02:06 PM »
Now what the team needs to do is help Devers in the defensive department to cut down on those errors.  Then we might really have a budding star on our team for a very long time.  And, yes, Leon has made a difference back on the team, and he has gotten some hits as well.  Perhaps I didn't give enough emphasis to the importance of solid defensive catching.  Then again, I do make my share of boo boos.  It also helps that if Leon is having trouble hitting, as it always seems to be with Jack Brad, it means the key hitters need to keep blasting away, as least four or five of them a game.

Offline longgame

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Re: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 03:03:03 PM »
I think Devers has improved in some ways but not in others.  His arm seems better than in the past, he gets to a lot of tough balls and is quicker on the line drives, but he keeps trying to rush plays that aren't quite routine but aren't too tough either.  It's just concerning to me that those seem to be errors of concentration, not ability, and concentration is what separates the greats from the not-greats.

What's the Sox' overall record since Leon came back?  They're just playing better period.  In fact they're playing very well, but the real test will come when the Astros come to town.  Unfortunately I'll be fishing and drinking with my college buddies in Maine so won't be tuned in!

One more thing - my Puerto Rican Mother-in-Law who I really loved, was named Iris, so Cora's mom must be okay!

Offline markj

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Re: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 03:08:29 PM »
Maine is NESN territory. No TVs where you're going?
Worst => First => Worst => Worst => ALE Champs => ALE Champs =>First

Offline longgame

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Re: Don't take Rafael Devers for granted
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 08:41:47 PM »
Maine is NESN territory. No TVs where you're going?

No, my friend only uses his place a few weeks a year.  We'll have internet but that will require taking time away from drinking and fishing!