John Tomase

Forget David Price, Red Sox fans should focus on Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Forget David Price, Red Sox fans should focus on Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts

BOSTON -- They are the twin pillars of hope in an otherwise upside-down Red Sox season, and on the day that David Price reminded us how his definition of "good teammate" might not jibe with yours or mine, let us salute Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers.

The homegrown stars bring a missing vibe to the lineup on a nightly basis. When either steps into the box, you can feel the confidence pouring off them like steam. Bogaerts has never looked more comfortable, especially with runners on base, his at-bats a study in composure and patience. When he gets his pitch, he's no longer looking to dunk it to right field. He's trying to shatter a windshield, as his 21 homers and 74 RBIs attest.

Devers, meanwhile, doesn't even know how good he is, because he raises that ceiling with virtually every swing. Overnight he has become one of the toughest outs in baseball, a line drive machine who covers every inch of the plate — and a few beyond it — while barreling rockets to all corners of the park.

On Wednesday night, both played key roles in a bounce-back victory over the Blue Jays. Bogaerts set the tone by doubling on a grounder through the shortstop hole, his breathtaking acceleration around first shocking Blue Jays center fielder Teoscar Hernandez, along with everyone else in the park.

Devers, meanwhile, maintained his relentless assault on the American League leaderboards with an opposite-field homer that saw him blazing around first before it found the seats as part of a 3-for-5, four-RBI night. After not driving in a run for the first 12 games of the season or hitting a homer for the first 32, Devers suddenly finds himself hitting .326 with 18 homers and 70 RBIs.

In a season where nothing has come easily — including Wednesday's 5-4 victory — Devers and Bogaerts represent an oasis. If we could watch them alternate at-bats all season, baseball might not have to worry about losing the next generation of fans.

It was hard to miss the juxtaposition of their joyful play vs. the pregame scene of Price once again blasting broadcaster Dennis Eckersley over the latter's relatively benign quotes in a Boston Globe profile.

Price wondered why we were still talking about their 2017 confrontation on a team charter, and why Eckersley couldn't let it go. He also egregiously suggested that the Hall of Famer had no friends during his playing days, based on what sounded like the partial viewing of an MLB Network documentary. Price said the doc quoted no players except Eckersley; that was factually inaccurate. Former teammates from Bruce Hurst to Mark McGwire to Fred Lynn, among others, were featured.

Watching Price demand a chance to apologize, as if he had somehow become the victim — instead of the man he ambushed — was flat-out distasteful. It also made you wonder what he enjoys about playing in Boston to be carrying around that kind of seething resentment.

But we're not here to dwell on Price. This is about the opposite end of that spectrum inhabited by Bogaerts and Devers, two young players with bright futures who approach each game with an infectious delight. It's almost like they're the only two players who haven't received the memo that repeating as champions is a hopeless, joyless slog towards doom.

With the toughest portion of the schedule looming — 14 straight games against the Yankees and Rays — the Red Sox will need Bogaerts and Devers to be better than ever.

Something tells me they'll deliver. But will there be anyone with them?

Why Bogaerts is a legit MVP candidate>>>>>

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David Price once again picking fights with Dennis Eckersley for no good reason

David Price once again picking fights with Dennis Eckersley for no good reason

The Red Sox just suffered one of their worst losses of the season, so of course David Price is re-engaging with the lowest moment of his Red Sox career and going after Dennis Eckersley again.

"Huh?" you might ask. But no, it's true. On Tuesday night, WEEI.com's Alex Reimer aggregated a section of a long Boston Globe feature on Eckersley — specifically Eckersley being mortified about the time Price ambushed and insulted him on a 2017 team flight.

"I don't plan on seeing him, never," read the relevant quote.

A couple of hours later, the Red Sox dropped a 10-4 decision to the second-division Blue Jays in Andrew Cashner's Red Sox debut. On Wednesday morning, Price retweeted the story with seven laughing face emojis before responding to a pair of critics.

When another follower reasonably asked why the story was resurfacing, Price responded to that one, too.

Then finally came this cryptic tweet, which could refer to anything:

The Red Sox host the Blue Jays on Wednesday night before Thursday's series finale in a matinee. Price is next scheduled to pitch in Thursday's opener in Tampa.

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Emotional Alex Cora blasts corruption that has led to massive protests in Puerto Rico: 'It's embarrassing'

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Emotional Alex Cora blasts corruption that has led to massive protests in Puerto Rico: 'It's embarrassing'

BOSTON -- It's no coincidence that Red Sox manager Alex Cora wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag to the podium on Tuesday. He aches for his homeland.

The island commonwealth found itself engulfed in scandal this weekend, with protesters marching to denounce Gov. Ricardo Rossello and demand his resignation in the wake of leaked messages that showed him deriding both political foes and allies, and giving another black eye to a bankrupt island that has spent the last 12 years in a recession and still faces criticism for its cleanup efforts after Hurricane Maria.

"It's not easy to watch what is going on," Cora said. "I am disappointed, mad. Sometimes I wonder like, 'Where are we going?' I got my kids who I am not planning on moving from there, but you see what is going on and you're like, 'What is going to happen?' At the same time, we've been through this before as a country. The only thing I can tell the people back home and the people who live in the states is to stay together."

The leaked messages came on the heels of a corruption scandal that led to indictments last week against two former Puerto Rican officials for steering more than $15 million of hurricane aid to unqualified cronies.

Anger boiled over this weekend, with thousands of protesters marching on the governor's mansion to demand Rossello's resignation before police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

"It's kind of sad that I feel more worried now than when Maria went by because when Maria went by the only one that had control over it was God," Cora said. "Now, it's tough to understand that we're in this situation when the people that put us in the situation was the people who were elected by our country. It's embarrassing, too. I am a proud Puerto Rican. We're going to be fine. It just sucks to watch and see what is going on."

UPDATE (Wednesday, July 17, 8 a.m. ET): Cora added a follow-up tweet Wednesday morning in Spanish that included the hashtag #RickyRenuncia, which is being used to call on Rossello to resign.

Here's a rough English translation of Cora's tweet: "Tired of expressing my frustration of what we are experiencing but crazy about letting everyone know that when we unite we are powerful."

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