All you need to know, in quickie form, about the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Rays, complete with BSJ analysis and insight:
Devers gets locked in: Just as he did last year, Rafael Devers is making up for a slow start. In 2019, it took about six weeks for Devers to really get untracked at the plate, and the same pattern developed in the shortened 2020 schedule. On Thursday night, he had three more hits (including a two-run homer) and knocked in three runs. He's now tied Xander Bogaerts for the team leader in homers (10) and has knocked in 26 runs in his last 21 games. Devers always is an aggressive hitter at the plate with good plate coverage, so why is he now making hard contact while in the first four weeks he wasn't? "He's on time better right now,'' explained Ron Roenicke. "I don't know why that timing gets out of whack, but if he's on time for the fastball, he knows he's on time and doesn't have to cheat and he sees the breaking ball well. Before, he was late on the fastball and he doesn't pick up the spin because he's jumping at the fastball. Why, all of a sudden? I don't know. But that's the difference -- he's on time.''
Kickham exploits Rays: Coming into Thursday night, the Rays lineup had more strikeouts than any team in the league. The Sox noticed early on that Mike Kickham was able to get them out front on some breaking balls, and stuck with that until the Tampa Bay hitters were able to make a few adjustments. In his first 30 pitches, Kickham, making his first start in the big leagues since 2013 with the San Francisco Giants, threw only a handful of fastballs, relying more on a cutter-slider to mix in with a changeup and a split. "We were able to get ahead with the breaking ball early and kind of use the cutter off that,'' said Kickham. "For the most part, we just executed our game plan going in.'' Kickham registered eight strikeouts in four innings, and kept his mistakes limited to solo homers on consecutive pitches to Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe to begin the fourth.
Injuries piling up: For much of the season, the Red Sox have been able to avoid