When the Boston Red Sox acquired Steve Pearce from the Toronto Blue Jays in June, the primary motive was to get a reliable right-handed bat that hit well against lefties.
That said, Pearce has lived up to be exactly what president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had in mind.
Many times when Pearce’s number has been called this season, he’s come through. That’s been particularly evident in games against stiffer competition, such as his three-homer night against the New York Yankees and Tuesday’s three-RBI performance in a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Pearce finished Tuesday’s win with a team-high three hits in addition to driving in more than half his team’s runs.
Above all else, Pearce has provided a nice outlet to give Mitch Moreland a break. Moreland has proven to want to grind things out, even at the expense of his own health. But having Pearce around ensures that Moreland can get rest when he needs it, and the Red Sox’s offense won’t miss a beat, as Pearce can produce offensively and play reliable defense in Moreland’s sted.
Although Pearce doesn’t have much postseason experience — just seven games in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles — he at least has some and has shown to be a truly dependable veteran. As such, whether it is from a leadership or depth perspective, he will continue to be a key contributor down the stretch and into October.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Braves game:
— Rick Porcello’s pitch efficiency was tested Tuesday night, as he threw 100 pitches in his five innings of work. But when he was on the mound, Porcello did a good job keeping damage to a minimum.
The right-hander allowed just one run on two hits with five strikeouts. He did, however, hit two batters and walked one other.
Still, Porcello did a more than adequate job giving his team the cushion they needed to win, and he, in turn, got his 16th victory of the season.
— It wasn’t just on the mound that Porcello made his mark either. Playing in a National League Park, Porcello recorded a hit, meaning he’s hit safely in all three NL games he’s played this season.
The 29-year-old roped a single into right in the fifth inning and later scored the Sox’s first run.
With Tuesday’s hit, Porcello now is one of few AL pitchers with hits in three games since the designated hitter era began. The last pitcher to do so was Bud Norris in 2013.
— Porcello not going deep into the game meant the Red Sox bullpen got plenty of work, and the four relievers used, who all likely will end up on the postseason roster, did a fine job.
Steven Wright, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier and Heath Hembree pitched one scoreless inning apiece. The four relievers combined to allow two hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
— Rafael Devers was activated from the disabled list Tuesday afternoon, and he made an appearance come nightfall.
The third baseman pinch-hit for Porcello in the sixth and worked a walk, later scoring on a single from Pearce.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images