Martín Pérez has seven starts this season, but no wins to show for it for the Boston Red Sox.
He was pulled from the game against the Baltimore Orioles after just five innings and 74 pitches Monday, and save for a solo home run in the second included with his four hits and four strikeouts, it was starting to look like he’d earn that first victory on the mound.
“I want to say everything,” Pérez said, when asked what was going well for him after the game.
But in a tie game, Alex Cora decided his starter had done his job, putting Boston’s fate in the bullpen.
Matt Andriese gave up another solo shot to Trey Mancini, the first batter he faced, for Baltimore’s go-ahead run. He came back out for the seventh and eighth, too, and in the reliever’s final frame, Xander Bogaerts bobbled a tough pop up and allowed Cedric Mullins a triple to shallow left.
Ultimately, the Orioles managed to win 4-1, and the lingering question was whether Pérez was pulled too early.
Cora explained his decision after the game.
“We were set up with Andriese with all those righties and I felt like that was good enough today,” Cora said after the game.
“He is who he is and we like the guy. You know, he had good stuff, good changeup. Just today we were set up with Matt to go multiple innings. (Pérez) did a good job for five and then we pushed Matt to three innings and that was good, too. Just a flukey play at the end, but that happens. I mean, when we got to the eighth inning, they only scored two runs, so that’s the name of the game: Avoid runs and score runs and today we didn’t score runs.”
Here are other notes from Boston’s loss to the Orioles:
— It wasn’t just the bullpen spoiling Pérez’s short but solid start. It was the bats, too.
And that’s been a theme through all of his outings this season, unfortunately. Just check this stat out, via @SoxNotes on Twitter.
— The Red Sox rotation has been getting the job done, no doubt. Despite Pérez having not recorded a win yet this season, the starters lead Major League Baseball with 16 collective wins. But these five-inning starts are starting to pile up.
“I ask for nine on a daily basis, but with with this team, with this offense, (if the starters) give us five, we have a chance,” Cora said. “And obviously where we’re set up roster-wise, we can actually do that, right? Ask a little bit more from the bullpen because we have one extra guy. So, coming into the season we trust our rotation to give us a chance to win ballgames. And since day one, they’ve been doing that.”
That all might be true, but that mentality is going to put the bullpen to the test this season when the offense is off.
— At least some of the guys who are hot at the plate had something to show for it Monday.
Bogaerts extended his lead over the rest of MLB hitters with a hit to bring his total to a league-best 45 this season. J.D. Martinez was 2-for-4 with a run, helping him maintain second on that list with 42.
Rafael Devers also earned his 29th RBI of the season.
— At 22-14, the Red Sox still have the best record in Major League Baseball and a small cushion in the American League East standings.
— Up next, the Red Sox head home to host the Oakland Athletics in a four-game set. First pitch on Tuesday is at 7:10 p.m. ET.
And fortunately for Boston, they’ll benefit from Fenway Park increasing its maximum capacity to 25%.