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  • The Rockies' Chad Bettis made a triumphant return to the mound Monday night, while 20-year-old Rafael Devers continued to put on a show for Boston.
By Jeremy Fuchs
August 15, 2017

Here's what to know from Monday night in baseball:

Great Return

After a bout with testicular​ cancer that included a round of chemo in March, Chad Bettis took the mound for the Rockies for the first time this season. He gave up a triple in his first at-bat (although the Braves’s Ender Inciarte was eventually caught at home), and then settled in, retiring the next seven batters. Bettis pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up six hits and striking out two. It was quite the comeback.

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The Rockies are pretty much a lock to make the playoffs as a wild card. Their pitching staff, surprisingly, is one of the better ones in the NL. German Marquez and Kyle Freeland have done really nice jobs. Now Bettis adds a veteran force. Last season, he had a 4.79 ERA; the year before, a 4.23.

Of course, whatever he does on the mound is secondary. Getting to this point is one hell of an accomplishment. But the Rockies are sure happy to have him back. So is the entire baseball world.

New Man in Town

It’s all Rafael Devers all the time. One night after hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning off Aroldis Chapman—off the fastest pitch hit for a home run since tracking began in 2008—the rookie sensation is at it again. He hit a solo home run in the second inning and then followed it up with another one in the fourth in the Red Sox’s 7–3 loss to the Indians Monday evening. The 20-year-old has six home runs in his first 16 career games.

And to make things even better for the Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi​ hit a home run on Monday, as well. This comes after hitting two three-run homers Saturday against the Yankees, and the game-winning hit in extras on Sunday.

The Red Sox flew under the radar for most of the first half, especially as the Baby Bombers took hold. Hard to pay attention to Benintendi​ when Aaron Judge was mashing.

But now Aaron Judge and the Yankees are slumping and Devers and the Red Sox are surging. Boston sits 4 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East, and has allowed 18 fewer runs. The Sox have Chris Sale, who dominated on Sunday with 12 strikeouts in seven innings.

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The Red Sox didn’t make any huge moves at the deadline, just acquiring Addison Reed. What they really did was get a hot hitter in Devers. Devers has been one of the MLB’s top prospects for the past few years. Over two levels this season, he batted .311/.377/.578. So it’s not a huge surprise that he’s making an impact.

Of course, he will fade at some point. But his start thus far and his penchant for the dramatic bodes well for the Red Sox. At the deadline, everyone was already thinking about an Astros-Yankees ALCS. Might be time to change that prediction.

Defense Wins Championships

Monday has been a good day for defensive baseball. Take this dive from Rangers’s centerfielder Drew Robinson:

Or this rope from Trevor Story:

Who says it’s all about the long ball?

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