Wednesday’s match-up between the Braves and Nationals just reached its midpoint but Ronald Acuña, Jr. has already had himself one heck of a night. After leading off the top of the third inning with a single, Nationals starter Tommy Milone had Acuña dead to rights on a pickoff throw to first base. Acuña darted for second base and the throw from first baseman Matt Adams was off the mark, giving Acuña his seventh stolen base of the season.
In the top of the fourth, Acuña padded the Braves’ lead to 7-1 with a two-run home run to straightaway center field. Statcast measured that one at 452 feet.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Acuña robbed Adams of a solo home run to center field.
Acuña, a former top prospect, is enjoying a solid rookie season. As of this writing, including tonight’s action, Acuña is batting .266/.325/.494 with 12 home runs, 30 RBI, and 37 runs scored in 255 plate appearances.
The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.
However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”
Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.
Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.
Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.
No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.