The Red Sox are having the kind of season where not only are they winning a lot of games, but the ones that they do lose have almost always been relatively close. Aside from a couple of real stinkers here and there, they’ve at least been in striking distance. They were sort of in striking distance here, but it felt over right away. Martín Pérez decidedly did not have It, only going two innings. The offense had nothing against Framber Valdez, and really this one felt over after just those two innings. It happens, but that acknowledgment doesn't make it any more fun to watch.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about this game, which is at the same time both frustrating and just part of the game. The Red Sox have not had a lot of these types of games this year, which is good, but it also makes it even more frustrating when it does happen. Martín Pérez has been great all year. I even wrote about it just this afternoon. He was decidedly not great today. It happens, but that didn’t make it any easier to watch.
The Astros actually didn’t even get all that much off Pérez in that first inning, and the one they did get appeared more fluky than troubling. After the lefty for the first out, Carlos Correa appeared to have popped one up to left field. He hit it hard, but it was also sky-high. So high, in fact, that the home plate umpire lost it. The ball was originally called foul, but after a little encouragement from Correa there was a discussion between umpires, and the official call was a home run. The call was then confirmed via replay, and we moved on with our lives. Pérez did walk a batter as well, but ultimately it was only a 1-0 deficit after that inning.
It was in the second that things really took a downward turn for Pérez and the game got out of hand in a hurry. They got started right away, with Michael Brantley starting things off with a double and then Kyle Tucker following it up with one of his own. The good news for the Red Sox is that Brantley thought the ball to deep center field might be caught, so he only made it to third on the play. The bad news is that it didn’t really matter.
Pérez followed the back-to-back doubles by allowing a two-run single, and then issuing a walk. He finally got the first inning after that, but then gave up another double (to Correa) to bring another run home. The Red Sox then decided to intentionally walk Alex Bregman, which loaded the bases, after which Pérez hit Yordan Alvarez on the first pitch he threw, making it a 5-0 game. Houston would get one more on a base hit, and by the time the dust settled it was a 6-0 Astros lead.
That would also mark the end of Pérez’s night, leaving them in a bit of a jam with their pitching staff. It’s been a busy stretch for the bullpen of late, and there is not a day off on the schedule again until next Thursday. But they needed to get through seven more innings in this game, with Matt Andriese getting the first call with the team looking for a good, multi-inning outing.
He did the job despite having not pitched since the calendar flipped to June. The righty did give up a homer to Alvarez to give Houston seven runs on the evening, but otherwise he was effective and efficient in three innings of work to get the team to the sixth, which is no small thing given the circumstances.
Even with Andriese doing the job, the only hope was that the offense would be able to pick up their pitcher and at least make this a slugfest at Fenway. No such luck. They were going up against Framber Valdez, a very talented pitcher who gave them fits last week in Houston. It wasn’t much better this time around. They were totally shut down for the first three innings before finally showing some signs of life in the fourth.
There, they got the first two runners on with a hit batter and a base hit, and then a ground ball to the shortstop cut down only the middle man, leaving runners on the corners. From there, Boston finally got their first run of the night on a fielder’s choice, but that was all they would get from the chance.
Really, the only time in this game that things felt like an actual game was in the bottom of the fifth. The Red Sox were down 7-1 at this point, and they desperately needed a multi-run inning to make this thing a game. They looked poise to do it, too, when the inning started with back-to-back base hits to put runners on the corners. Boston couldn't manage a single run. Bobby Dalbec and Christian Arroyo both struck out before Rafael Devers grounded out, and the inning was over with the same score with which it started.
I thought the Red Sox made a curious move in the sixth, pulling Andriese in favor of Brandon Workman. I figured they’d let Andriese go four, which would be the most he’s thrown this year, but he’d also thrown only 49 pitches, 15 below his season-high. They went the other way, though, and Workman did well too, tossing a pair of scoreless innings.
With the six-run deficit still standing in the eighth, Phillips Valdez entered the game for the Red Sox. He did get into a little trouble there, but a big double play allowed him to escape unscathed. He’d come back out to try and finish it out in the ninth as well, and did the job despite a few baserunners.
Meanwhile the offense continued to struggle the rest of the night, and that was that. The 7-1 loss snapped a five-game win streak for the Red Sox and dropped their record to 37-24.
The Red Sox will look to quickly put this one behind them with the second game of this series on Wednesday. Boston will have Nathan Eovaldi on the mound while Jake Odorizzi gets the ball for Houston. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.