The Red Sox got a win on Saturday in relatively convincing fashion, but the celebration was a bit muted thanks to a play towards the end. In the bottom of the eighth, Rafael Devers went from first to third and started to come up limp before sliding into the bag. He got to his feet with clear discomfort, and the team didn’t waste any time removing him from the game. Now, Boston was up 10-4 at that time so there was some hope that this was totally precautionary. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed quickly into the postgame. According to Chad Jennings of the Athletic, Alex Cora indicated that it was likely Devers would be heading towards the disabled list with a hamstring issue.
Left hamstring issue for Devers. Probably heading for the disabled list. “It looks that way,” Cora said.— Chad Jennings (@chadjennings22) July 29, 2018
This is obviously not great news for the Red Sox, even if Devers has been bad for most of the last month or two. The young third baseman still has a huge ceiling and just anecdotally appeared to be getting hot at the plate. The lineup is certainly going to be hurt by the loss of his presence, even if this isn’t something they can’t work around.
As of this writing, there is no indication of how serious this injury will be. We should learn more whenever pregame interviews begin. In the meantime, it seems almost certain that Tzu-Wei Lin will be the call-up from Pawtucket. He will serve as a depth role, with Eduardo Núñez getting most starts at third base and Brock Holt receiving the majority of the playing time at second base. This alignment may actually improve the defense slightly, but the lineup would certainly look worse.
This injury also shows the lack of depth this team has on the infield, and really among position players in general. With Lin (presumably) coming up to the majors, Sam Travis is the only healthy position player on the 40-man who is not in the majors. They do have other options, but Brandon Phillips is likely the top infielder not in the majors. There is certainly a scenario in which the veteran could make an impact, but he left Saturday’s game in Pawtucket early after getting hit in the hand with a pitch. If that’s serious, that’s a big deal. Beyond him, the options come down to guys like Tony Renda, Mike Miller and Chad De La Guerra.
For now, the team has to hope the Devers injury isn’t serious. In the short-term, they can make it work with Núñez, Holt and Lin. They just need to hope this isn’t a long-term injury, and they need to hope there isn’t another one to this group of infielders. Of course, there are still two more days until the trade deadline as well, but we’ll talk about that a little later this morning.