BOSTON — Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers ended up being the bats the Boston Red Sox needed — and they came a few days before the trade deadline.
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski had a hole to fill at third base after the club released Pablo Sandoval last month. Just before Monday’s cutoff for making deals without waivers, Dombrowski opted to shore up the bullpen by acquiring Addison Reed from the New York Mets.
Dombrowski was questioned for not chasing a bat. Turns out, he already had two that have sparked the lineup and put Boston back on top of the AL East.
Nunez, picked up in a trade from San Francisco for two minor league pitchers on July 25, and 20-year-old highly touted prospect Devers have brought an immediate boost.
“We got Nunez,” Dombrowski said. “It’s amazing how when you don’t get a guy on the deadline day, people forget that you got him.”
The pair will have to wait another day to see if they remain hot because Boston’s series finale against Cleveland at Fenway Park was postponed because of rain. It’s been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 14 at 6:10 P.M.
In the two games post deadline — albeit a small sample size — the Red Sox beat the AL Central-leading Indians twice and put up their highest two-game run total since the first week of July when they were in the middle of a season-high six-game game winning streak.
The defending AL East champs watched the New York Yankees acquire starting pitchers Sonny Gray and Jamie Garcia at the deadline after they fixed a hole at third base by adding Todd Frazier and adding bullpen help. The Red Sox now lead the Yankees by a game.
Nunez is batting .500 (11 for 22) with two homers and nine RBIs in five games. Devers is hitting .429 (12 of 28) with two homers and four RBIs in seven since being promoted from Triple-A.
Devers has the most hits by a Red Sox player in his first seven games since Olaf Henriksen had 14 in 1911.
The start by the pair forced manager John Farrell to shift the order on deadline day, moving Nunez to third and Devers from the bottom to sixth. Struggling hitters Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland were dropped to seventh and eighth, respectively.
RHP Joe Kelly (strained left hamstring) was slated to start a rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. … LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) started playing catch on the field before the rain came. … RHP Carson Smith (recovering from Tommy John surgery) will start a rehab stint with Double-A Portland on Saturday. He threw to hitters on the field Wednesday.
Farrell said RHP Rick Porcello (4-14, 4.55 ERA) would pitched the opener of a four-game series when Boston hosts the White Sox on Thursday. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-9, 4.59) is ready to go for Chicago.