Every five games, Pérez Day comes around, and every five games, I find myself wondering: “Is this the start where Pérez finally comes undone, and regresses back to his career norms?”
This is a little unfair to Martín Pérez, who by the numbers had the best ERA among the members of the rotation entering today’s game (also tied for 2nd in FIP with Garrett Richards, behind Nate Eovaldi).
Pérez didn’t do much in the first inning to shake my bias however, as he gave up a single and a walk to put runners on first and second to face the heart of the Blue Jays order with no outs. Vlad Guerrero Jr. has been a problem this year, and he stood in. While he didn’t take the ball into the right field bleachers quite like I had feared, he did hit it deep enough to move the runner on second over to third. Then came the blast. Teoscar Hernandez blasted one into the Monster seats to put the Red Sox down 3-0 right away. Then he gave up another home run into the Monster seats, this time to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 4-0. Then a laser double to Cavan Biggio. Thankfully the next rocket was sent to the deepest part of the park, and it was caught at the wall by Enrique Hernández.
The hope was that Pérez could buckle down and pitch a few innings, and save the bullpen. Pérez gave up another home run, this time to Marcus Semien. 5-0 Blue Jays. He gave up one more hit, this time to Bo Bichette, and that was enough. Alex Cora came out and mercifully pulled Pérez, to give the team some chance to win today. Pérez’s final line: 1 1⁄3 innings, six hits allowed, five earned runs, and a walk. He gave up three dingers in his short appearance. Until yesterday, no Sox pitcher had given up three home runs in a start. Now they have done it two days in a row.
Replacing him was Ryan Weber, who isn’t much better, but is at least a fresh arm that has yet to play this season. Go figure, he got the two outs he needed to get the team out of the inning.
With Pérez out of the game, it was on the Sox to score in bunches to make this a ball game. Cora did his part, now it was on the offensive unit. Xander Bogaerts got it started in a big way with a home run that towered almost over the Monster, only knocked over by the light standards. 5-1, but the game wasn’t over, at least.
Weber had been kind of cruising through the beginning of his outing, but it all began to fall apart in the 4th inning. Three non-consecutive singles brought in a run, the dagger being a single by Guerrero with two outs in the inning. Then, for good measure, he allowed Hernandez to hit his second three-run home run of the game, to put the Blue Jays up 9-1. The next batter grounded out, but it was too little too late. The game went from being eminently winnable to outright over.
The fifth inning didn’t go any better. Marcus Semien drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Bo Bichette hit a three run home run. How it happened didn’t really matter. It was flat out crushed, and the Blue Jays took a 13-1 lead as a result. Halfway through the game and nobody was having any fun. Great way to spend your Sunday.
The Red Sox offense didn’t feel like giving up, at least. A Christian Arroyo single, and a Kevin Plawecki single, had things looking somewhat interesting. Then Hernández hit a double that scored two runs to put the Sox back within mercy rule range, at 13-3.
Biggio hit a home run in the 6th inning to put the score back at 14-3. You get no wit. No sauce. Just a reminder of how futile baseball really is. You would think in theory: “two steps forward, and one step back” would get you back into this game, but that only works when you have enough innings for the strategy to work. Down by 11 with only four innings worth of hitting to go does not inspire confidence. Even so, if you were a Red Sox fan today, odds are you were hoping Weber pitched the rest of this game, just to spare the bullpen, even if he gave up 20 runs in the process.
By the way, Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a two run home run in the 7th to make it 16-3. Yeah. Ryan Weber was still on the mound. Despite how many runs he had given up, his ERA for the day was still lower than Pérez’s. I know that sounds hard to believe, but it’s the truth.
At the least, the Red Sox did score a fourth run. Bobby Dalbec launched a solo shot to center field that just kept carrying. That’s all they got in the 7th inning. 16-4.
Then, things got weird. The Red Sox brought in Marwin Gonzalez to pitch. Marwin Gonzalez. Marwin Gonzalez. Yes. Gonzalez mixed a 45 mile per hour eephus pitch with an 89 mile per hour cutter. Yikes. Maybe Gonzalez should join the rotation with stuff like this. Naturally, he threw the only clean inning the Red Sox threw today.
We have a first time— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 13, 2021
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welcome Marwin!! pic.twitter.com/xO9hkYLv3p
Gonzalez only threw one inning. In relief of him for the 9th inning was our second position player of the game, Christian Arroyo. Let’s just say this: he is no Marwin Gonzalez. He gave up a walk, and a runner got on base via error. Unfortunately, the error mattered. He gave up the 8th home run of the game on the very next batter, which broke a record for most home runs allowed by a Red Sox pitching staff at Fenway Park. Still pitched better than Martín Pérez and Ryan Weber, though, so take that for what it is worth.
The Red Sox put up no resistance in the bottom half, as the Sox fell, 18-4. As it turns out, Pérez gave up more runs in 1 1⁄3 innings than the Red Sox were able to score all game. Can’t win games like that.
The Red Sox fall to 39-27, having to wait, once more, for their 40th win. They take on the Blue Jays one more time tomorrow at 7:10 ET. The Red Sox are going to need better pitching if they hope to win.