Yesterday I wrote that the Red Sox have Nathan Eovaldi and four openers. That was slightly disrespectful to Martin Perez, who averages 5.2 IP per start over his career (158 games started). Perez had a rough debut versus the Orioles, where he gave up five runs (four earned), six hits, two walks, and struck out two batters. He entered New York with a 7.20 ERA, looking to improve on a disappointing first impression in Boston. The Red Sox as a whole came into the game needing to build some momentum after a 2-4 start to the season.
Ron Roenicke however does not appear to be on the same wavelength. The way I see it, the Red Sox just got punched in the mouth by the Orioles and Mets the first time through the rotation resulting in a 1-4 record. Then somehow, Nathan Eovaldi leads the team to a narrow victory over arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Ron Roenicke then decided to bench Rafael Devers because he is of the mindset that we need to keep our team rested.
Counterpoint: The Red Sox entered tonight 2-6 in a 60 game sprint to a 16-team playoff. My question is, what are we waiting for? Devers is hitting a mere .200 and needs consistent at-bats to get back on track.
The biggest managerial decision that is driving me crazy is his commitment to play the lefty-righty matchups. Moreland is hitting .357 this season with two home runs and five RBI’s in only 14 at-bats. Last night, he broke deGrom’s 31 scoreless inning streak by lacing a double over the center fielder. He had two RBI’s last night and needs to be in the lineup tonight. His career splits are not drastic by any means (BA: .256 vs RHP, .239 vs LHP). I would love for Chavis to figure things out, but he is currently 0-9 with five strikeouts and a walk. Chavis could be a key piece of the team and needs at-bats, but managers should know when to ride a hot bat. Right now, that is Mitch Moreland.
Second Inning – BOS 1 – NYM 0
Martin Perez started the game off very well, having to get four outs after a defensive miscommunication. He was staying on the outside of the strike zone and his pitches had serious movement. In the second inning, Christian Vasquez led the inning off with another bomb (3) to take the lead. No more runs would come across but the Red Sox lineup made a point to make Matz work. It took the left-hander 40 pitches to get through two frames.
Martin Perez started the second with a walk, but settled in quickly to get back-to-back strikeouts. Vasquez gunned down Conforto in between strikeouts to continue his phenomenal start to the summer.
Third Inning – NYM 2 – BOS 1
The Red Sox continued to make Steven Matz work in the third, but could not cross the plate. Peraza started the inning with a single but was later hosed trying to steal third base with Bogaerts at the plate. Poor base running decisions hurt the team early but the Red Sox still made Matz throw 55 pitches through three.
Trouble arose early in the bottom of the third when Perez lost the strike zone. He started by walking Ramos on four pitches, then immediately hit Nimmo. He recorded a ground out before walking Pete Alonso. With the bases loaded, Jeff McNeil came through with a two-run single. He has the best batting average with runners on base in the league since 2019. Perez settled down and quickly retired the next two batters, ending the inning with a strikeout.
Fourth Inning – BOS 3 – NYM 2
Xander Bogaerts led-off the top of the fourth by singling down the third base line. Then Christian Vasquez hit yet another absolute tank (4), this time to right center. Matz would limit the damage to just those two runs, but his pitch count continued to climb. Matz threw 79 pitches through four innings, with the Red Sox eager to get to the bullpen.
Ninth Inning – BOS 4 – NYM 2
Boy has this game been gritty to this point. To start off the ninth, Edwin Diaz entered the game for the Mets trying to get his career back on track. Yet it would be more of the same for Diaz, who started the inning by allowing a walk, single, and then another walk to bring Jose Peraza to the plate. To this point Peraza had made two errors at third base and been mute offensively. During the at-bat, Peraza got hit swinging at a fastball that came in on his hands. Peraza stayed in the game, fouling off pitch after pitch. On the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Peraza hung in there and eat another fastball, this time to his right shoulder. This was one of the grittiest at-bats I have ever watched, and it extended the Red Sox lead to two.
Martin Perez showed the Red Sox that he can really pitch. Roenicke pulled Perez after only 88 pitches. He pitched 5.2 IP, allowing two runs on two hits, four walks, and five strikeouts. Jeff McNeil was the only batter to get a hit off of Perez, and ended up with both RBI’s as well. While Perez did not put out a crazy impressive stat line, the outing was exactly what I wanted to see. Four walks is not ideal, but he showed the ability to stay on the edge of the plate consistently. He threw a lot of good pitches outside the zone, but the Mets were able to lay off at an impressive rate. Vasquez called a great game for Perez and already seemingly has a understanding of how to Perez likes to pitch. Speaking of which, Christian Vasquez was the clear MVP for the Red Sox tonight with two home runs and a great game behind the plate.
It is becoming increasingly clear how stressful the Red Sox bullpen is going to make every inning. Matt Barnes pulled his best Brandon Workman impression, loading the bases and then narrowly getting out of it. The sad part is that they are supposed to be our best options in the bullpen. The Red Sox bullpen is bad for blood pressure, but they have gotten the job done so far. Luckily Workman found his cutter tonight, after struggling with his curveball once again.