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Hits keep coming for streaking Devers

Betts: 'He’s pretty much the centerpiece of our team'
July 6, 2019

DETROIT -- Mookie Betts doesn’t want to come across as greedy. He’s thrilled three Red Sox players, including himself, have been named to the American League All-Star team. But Betts and a bevy of his teammates made it abundantly clear following Boston’s 9-6 series-opening win in Detroit that the Red

DETROIT -- Mookie Betts doesn’t want to come across as greedy. He’s thrilled three Red Sox players, including himself, have been named to the American League All-Star team.

But Betts and a bevy of his teammates made it abundantly clear following Boston’s 9-6 series-opening win in Detroit that the Red Sox are deserving of a fourth representative.

“Raffy definitely deserves to be there,” Betts said. “There’s no reason for him not to [be there].”

Although he isn't heading to Cleveland next week to participate in the Midsummer Classic, Rafael Devers belted his fourth home run in as many games and is on pace to set career highs in nearly every offensive category.

Box score

Devers, who ranks third in the AL with a .561 slugging percentage, extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-run homer off Tigers starter Ryan Carpenter in the third inning. Devers added a pair of walks and is now 19-for-37 with 11 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs, 14 runs and five walks in his last nine games.

“It’s just one of those things that kinda sucks,” Betts said. “We need to figure out a way to get him there.”

Following the rain-delayed game, which concluded after midnight, manager Alex Cora spoke highly of Devers, who is batting a team-high .331, and said the 22-year-old third baseman is worthy of joining his teammates in Cleveland next week.

“It’s out of my control, but everyone knows what he’s doing,” Cora said.

But the second-year manager said he’s also aware that fans may start pointing fingers his way if another Boston player was to be added as a reserve, particularly given the fact that Cora and his eight-man staff are coaching the AL All-Star squad.

“It is what it is. A lot of people think that I have an impact. My Instagram [account] let me know that the last few days,” Cora said. “I’m trying to stay as far away as possible from it.”

Regardless of how it could be perceived, Devers’ offensive production in the first half simply can’t be overlooked, Betts said. Devers entered Friday with a 1.568 OPS in his previous eight games, having recorded hits in 15 of his previous 17 games. And of those 15 games with a hit, 10 have been multihit games, including three of which were multiple-extra-base-hit games.

“I think he’s pretty much the centerpiece of our team. Everything goes around him,” Betts said. “He’s been huge all year. He’s been the main one.”

If Devers were to be named as a reserve, he would join Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Betts -- all of whom were named reserves. Martinez will be the AL’s starting DH after Hunter Pence was forced to back out due to injury. Bogaerts, in turn, was named an injury replacement.

But, as of Friday night, Devers had no plans to join his teammates for the Midsummer Classic.

“We were joking today that the way he’s going, he may not go to the All-Star Game, but he might have a case at the end of the season to win some other stuff,” Cora said. “So, we’ll take that one.”

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez worked five innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and punching out four before the two-hour rain delay forced his exit.

It marked the 12th straight start in which Rodriguez, who has a team-high nine wins, pitched five or more innings. Like Betts, he was equally as shocked that Devers wasn’t named an All-Star.

“He’s a guy who should’ve been an All-Star, but unfortunately he’s not yet,” Rodriguez said.

Devers currently ranks second in the AL in batting average, and his .946 OPS has him ranked third in the AL, two spots ahead of Bogaerts.

“He’s hitting homers, doubles, getting RBIs, scoring runs," Rodriguez said. "He’s doing everything."