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Star Slugger Powering Red Sox Through Hot Stretch

Over the last 19 games, there’s been an unexpected best team in baseball. No – it’s not the Philadelphia Phillies or Baltimore Orioles, who have dominated their respective leagues in 2024. It’s not the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s the Boston Red Sox, who have played hard-nosed, exciting, and fundamental baseball. No one personifies that more than Boston’s current highest-paid player, Rafael Devers. And while the recent streak has been a team effort, Devers is powering the Red Sox through their hot stretch. 

Rafael Devers Powering Red Sox Through Hot Stretch

Devers’ recent performances have been nothing short of dominant. Zooming out towards the beginning of Boston’s run, the third baseman is batting .328 in his last 15 games. That includes 19 hits, 17 RBI, and seven walks. But most impressively, he’s hammered seven home runs during the stretch. Devers had three homers halfway through last month. On June 17, he smacked his fourth. It took another week before the full power settled in. And when it did, Devers couldn’t be stopped.

On June 24 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Devers hit his 14th bomb of the year. He quickly got to 15 the following day and exited the Toronto series off the back of consecutive homers. After two days off, Devers walked into June 28 searching for a third straight. That’s exactly what occurred against the San Diego Padres. Three games, three homers. Not too shabby for the Dominican Republic native. Devers took a quick break from leaving the yard, failing to hit one out on June 29. But on June 30, he helped the Red Sox avoid being swept with his fourth home run in five contests. His slugging percentage for the season rose from .528 to .571 in a week. During the stretch, he batted .444 with six RBI.

The Run Continues Into July

Entering July didn’t slow Devers down at all. He had two RBI in each of his first three games of the month. Then, the Red Sox visited the New York Yankees, and a beast was unleashed. Sure, Devers went 0-for-4 in Game 1. Not great despite a clutch Boston win. But in Game 2, Devers smacked a home run off Gerrit Cole for the 8th time in his career. The Red Sox lost, but he made his presence known. Adding to it all was his 1,000th career hit. That trickled into Sunday’s contest, which was one of Devers’ best games of the year. 

It was scoreless entering the 7th when the slugger smacked his 20th homer of the year. Boston took a 1-0 lead, which expanded to two by the time Devers came to the plate again. This time, it was the same result again on one of the most impressive home runs in baseball this season. A ball in the opposing batter’s box was deposited 423 feet into the seats at 107 miles per hour. The Red Sox won 3-0, taking a series in New York from the Yankees. 

In six games this month, Devers’ stats are some of the best in baseball. He has three bombs, 10 RBI, nine hits, and five walks. That’s good for .375/.483/.833 batting splits and a 1.316 OPS. In the big moments, Raffy has shown up massively. On June 19, he was batting .278 with a .911 OPS. Today, he’s severely raised that to a .293 average and exploding .973 OPS. A hot stretch can make a difference. While Boston has put together its best baseball of the season, so has Devers. The timing was perfect for everyone involved and the Red Sox are now in the thick of playoff contention.

Devers’ Season As A Whole

By no means was Devers having a poor year before catching fire lately. He’s had a .275 or better average in every month this year. After missing some time due to injury in April, he shook it off in May, setting a franchise record with a home run in six consecutive matchups. His slugging went from .470 to .567 over the six-game span. He stood alone atop the Red Sox power kingdom in style.

If Raffy keeps up anything similar to his current production this season, he has a chance to have a career-best year. His current .971 OPS blows any other campaign out of the water. The same can be said about his .378 on-base percentage. And a .293 average, if the season ended today, would be third among his eight campaigns. Devers had a 3.5 WAR in 2023. He’s already at 3.1 in half as many games this season. 

For a team looking to make the postseason for the first time since 2021, Boston needed a player like Devers to step up. A $300 million man has to play like one, and the infielder is certainly doing that right now. A lot will depend on what the Red Sox decide to do at the 2024 trade deadline, with various rumors swirling about outgoing and incoming personnel. And while all of that is up in the air, there’s one thing the organization knows. Devers is here, he’s dominating, and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


Photo Credit: © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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