Christian Vazquez filled up the stat sheet.
The Boston Red Sox catcher belted two home runs to add to his 2020 season total of four. He added three more RBIs, leaving Citi Field with six in just two games. And he threw out one runner attempting to steal second base, doing so from his knees, no less.
But perhaps most importantly was the mere two runs allowed by the Red Sox pitching staff, who had allowed seven or more in every game Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t pitching leading into Thursday.
That wasn’t the case Thursday, however, as the Red Sox earned a 4-2 win over the New York Mets, their second in as many nights. And perhaps Vazquez was the reason behind that, too.
After all, it was the 29-year-old catcher who helped starter Martin Perez throw an impressive bounce-back performance in which he lasted five-plus innings with two hits and two runs allowed. It was Vazquez who helped steady the ship when relievers Health Hembree and Matt Barnes got into some late-inning trouble, ultimately keeping Boston in control.
The performance prompted both manager Ron Roenicke and Perez to comment on Vazquez, both at and behind the plate.
“Yeah, doing both things. So, he called a really nice game, blocked well, the nice throw from his knees to throw out the baserunner and obviously the offense,” Roenicke told reporters after the win. “So, we’ll just keep him out there. As long as he’s catching like this, feeling strong, we’ll keep putting him out there.
“When I talk about calling a good game, I think he and Martin really locked in today, which is important,” Roenicke continued. “You don’t want your pitcher out there shaking off a lot. I think Christian called a good game and Martin followed that with throwing the ball well.”
Perez said having Vazquez behind the plate helped him mentally.
“I mean, a lot. We get more confident,” Perez said postgame. “He hit a homer, called a good game. He’s a good catcher. And I love (Vazquez), how he calls the game and how he plays the game.”
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Mets game:
— Perez was impressive in his own right against the Mets, especially after giving up four earned runs on six hits in his Red Sox debut against the Baltimore Orioles last week.
“I mean, feels good. It was fun,” Perez told reporters postgame. “Just go out there throw strikes, attack their hitters and use a lot of off speed. It was dancing a lot. I was available to use my change up a little bit more and pound the zone in, and go outside, but everything was OK. I had fun out there.
“It was fun to go out there and compete for my team and give them a chance to win the game,” Perez said.
— Roenicke was happy to see the pitching staff — especially Perez, Heath Hembree and closer Brandon Workman — look stronger as a group.
“Well, it was certainly nice to see Workman come in and throw the ball the way he did,” Roenicke said, in reference to Workman’s ninth-inning struggles just one night prior.
“(Matt) Barnes, it’s just command. we’ll get him straight,” Roenicke added. “But yes, great job from Martin to get us out far and really command his pitches well from the first inning on. So, that’s huge for us, to have him do that. And Hembree came in, did a good job, then the long inning with Barnes and then Workman with the good one. So, good win. The way, kind of, you script it out.”
— The Red Sox were caught twice on the base paths, once with Alex Verdugo and again with Jose Peraza, who was caught at third with two outs and Xander Bogaerts at the plate.
Roenicke said postgame that while he’s fine with Boston’s baserunners being aggressive, the Red Sox will have to address whether each situation fits into a good attempt.
“So, we just have to talk to the guys more on when they’re going to take that chance and when they’re going to go. but I’m fine with guys being aggressive and wanting to steal bases,” Roenicke said.
— Roenicke said that he had talked with Mitch Moreland prior to the game and told the veteran first baseman he would have the night off.
— The Red Sox will travel to face the New York Yankees on Friday.
Thumbnail photo via Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports Images