Boston Red Sox pitcher Martin Perez went to work on improving his changeup between starts, and it made a world of difference for the left-hander Thursday against the Texas Rangers.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox offense wasn’t able to provide much help in a 4-1 loss at Globe Life Field.
Perez pitched 5 2/3 innings while scattering five hits and recording seven strikeouts. He allowed just one earned run and did not walk a single batter.
“Good game. I mean, I think I needed one of these games to get everything back and I think I put everything together,” Perez told reporters on a postgame video conference, per the team. “My changeup was there and it (made) the difference between the pitches. Great outing. I was competing, doing my best to win the game.”
Perez specifically noted how he tried to play some long toss with his changeup to get the feeling back. He went 3 2/3 innings with four hits and four walks in his last start against the Seattle Mariners.
“It made me excited. I feel the good things coming,” Perez said. “When you’re a pitcher and you have great changeup, and sometimes you don’t have it, it’s hard for you to compete with just two pitches. … I got it today and I think I did a good (performance).”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora agreed.
“That was really good. It was something we were looking forward to,” Cora told reporters on a postgame video conference, per the team. “He did an amazing job staying in the zone. He had a good changeup, probably his best changeup of the month. … He was under control, we just didn’t make two plays behind him and it cost us the game.
“But if he throws the ball the way he did today, he’ll be in good shape.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rangers:
— The Red Sox played in front of the most fans they have this season with the Rangers’ Globe Life Field at full capacity.
Both Cora and Perez noted how it was a nice change.
“It was a great atmosphere. Great facility, their fans are always into the game,” Cora told reporters on a postgame video conference, per the team. “To see so many fans, it gives you a taste, right? if we keep doing the things the right way, as a society, hopefully sooner rather than later we can have fun at the ball park.”
Perez added: “It was nice to look around and see the fans, see the kids enjoy the game.”
— Cora acknowledge how the Red Sox, with hindsight 20/20, made a mistake pulling Perez with two outs in the second inning in order to get right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura into the game against a right-handed batter.
“We pushed Martin,” Cora said. “… We felt that was a good matchup for us, and we got burned.”
Sawamura allowed a two-run home run with two outs as the Rangers broke what was then a 1-1 tie and took a 3-1 lead.
— Rangers right-handed starter Kyle Gibson handcuffed the Red Sox through the first six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run.
“Today, he was that good,” Cora said. “He threw the ball well. The way he gets rolling… he made pitches when he had to.”
— J.D. Martinez will be out of the lineup Friday against the Rangers as Boston will look to get a few guys a day off during the four-game set.
— Cora noted how Martinez was battling a migraine Thursday night, but is hopeful it’s nothing too serious and Martinez will return this weekend.
— The 16-10 Red Sox will take the diamond Friday at 8 p.m. ET.