TORONTO — Rafael Devers is in a class by himself.
Devers’s 50th double on Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays put him in the Red Sox history book. It marked only the ninth time a Sox player has done that in a single season. But for Devers, who turns 23 next month, the double makes him the youngest Red Sox player to accomplish the feat.
The only MLB players to hit 50-plus doubles in a season before turning 23 are Alex Rodriguez (54 in 1996) and Manny Machado (51 in 2013). They were both 20.
Devers’s teammate Xander Bogaerts, 26, is also primed to join the 50-doubles club, needing only one.
“It feels great,” Devers said through team interpreter Bryan Almonte Wednesday prior to the Red Sox’ 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. “Obviously we’re trying to finish strong, but it feels good to hit that mark.”
Devers grew up idolizing Adrian Beltre. His 50 double places him ahead of Beltre, who tallied 49 doubles with the Sox back in 2010.
“It makes me really happy. I actually didn’t even know that,” Devers said. “Everybody knows how I feel about Adrian Beltre, he’s my favorite third baseman growing up. To be mentioned in the same breath as him in the season that I’m having is really special.”
Devers’s huge leap this season puts him among the best hitting third basemen in the majors. For players with a minimum of 500 plate appearances, Devers’s .314 batting average entering Wednesday ranked third among third basemen behind Anthony Rendon and D.J. LeMahieu. If you exclude LeMahieu, who plays multiple positions for the Yankees, Devers is second. Devers’s OPS, meanwhile, was fourth in the majors, trailing Rendon, Alex Bregman, and Nolan Arenado, who are all All-Stars.
“I know what I have to do and the type of job that I have,” Devers said.
Looking for something to do
The Red Sox will have a rare offday Friday in Philadelphia before playing a two-game set against the Phillies on Saturday and Sunday. Sox vice president of communications, Kevin Gregg, described it as a scheduling quirk with all the two-game interleague series. Some teams requested to play on the weekends even for two-game series. So, the Phillies picked a two-gamer with the Sox on the weekend.
It’s becoming more common around the league. The Oakland A’s, for example, had an offday on Friday, Aug. 2, and then played the St. Louis Cardinals in a two-game series. The Red Sox did it last year in April. The Red Sox also had a Friday off on June 28 because of the two-game London series June 29-30 vs. the Yankees.
Manager Alex Cora said the scheduling all around this year has been different, to say the least.
“I don’t remember having an offday on Friday. I don’t remember having an offday on Labor Day. I don’t remember having too many offdays in August,” Cora said. “I think you should play baseball on Fridays.”
Cora said they will take advantage of it.
“I was talking to [executive vice president Brian O’Halloran] and [assistant GM] Eddie Romero and a team dinner sounds good on Friday or a staff meeting,” Cora said. “We’ll pick a good place in Philadelphia. It’s weird. It’s just weird.”
For Jackie Bradley Jr., all the days look the same and run together during the season.
“It’s nothing I really do differently on a weekend that I would do on a weekday. My job is the same, I guess,” Bradley said.
David Price (wrist) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon, and Cora said that overall it went well.
“[He threw] all the pitches,” Cora said. “He felt good. We’ll see how he reacts tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”
Reliever Heath Hembree (elbow) seems to be making progress, too. Hembree also threw a bullpen and the team is shooting for him to throw a simulated game, most likely Saturday.
“If he can clear that hurdle,” Cora said, “his return is getting closer and closer.”
The Red Sox started Bobby Poyner on Wednesday instead of Jhoulys Chacin so they could give Chacin an extra day of rest. Chacin will start Thursday and remain in the rotation for the rest of the season with Chris Sale done for the year and the uncertainty around Price.
“He has a good slider,” Cora said. “He obviously knows what he’s doing on the mound. The slider plays and we knew that coming into this situation. Fastball location has been better.”
More than anything, though, Chacin is an 11-year veteran and has been a resource for some of the younger players.
“In the clubhouse he’s been amazing,” Cora said. “Talking to Darwinzon [Hernandez] and Eduardo [Rodriguez] that’s things that you need, leadership. Guys that can talk the game and help others. In such a short period of time, he’s well accepted in the clubhouse.”