Why is the Boston Red Sox’s Rafael Devers (hitter-free in the last 21 at-bats) having such a hard time? “He has never been in this situation”

BOSTON — Red Sox slugger Rafael Devers is hitless in his last 21 at-bats.

He was just 17 for 104 (.164 batting average) with .226 on-base percentage, .289 hitting percentage, .515 OPS and seven extra hits in 26 games (115 plate appearances) in August.

His .515 OPS is the worst OPS he has posted in a single month in his career in which he played more than eight games.

What’s going on?

“One of the things that we appreciate and I know you do too is his ability to hit pitches hard out of the area,” manager Alex Cora said. “But when he’s not good like he is right now then we have to cut him down. We have to swing on strikes. I think he did an amazing job two days ago of not swinging on bad pitches regardless of the results. He hit twice but he didn’t chase the pitches. And then yesterday there was a pitch in the zone that was called a strike and then after that he kept swinging and swinging and swinging. The swing is still the same. The mechanics are still the same. A little bumped. I spoke to him two days ago and he said, “I feel good For a moment there he felt it, his back and his hammy.

Devers spent July 23 through August 2 on the injured list with an inflamed right hamstring. The injury required the minimum of 10 days on the IL.

“Let’s swing the strikes,” Cora said. “We thought the ball had gone the other day down left center and it was a sack fly. One thing I always tell him, ‘You’re a line the other way to be locked up.'”

Devers had a fly sack Tuesday against the Twins.

“It’s a learning process,” Cora said. “He’s never been in this situation – he’s struggled so much. Game planning comes into play. I spoke to him. Now it’s different.

Cora said other teams were probably focused on him as the Red Sox hitter they didn’t want to let them beat.

“They probably present it a little differently,” Cora said. “He’s been chasing throws from the All-Star Break at a higher rate. We just have to swing on strikes.

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