The Boston Red Sox are experiencing a tough stretch from the starting rotation.
And an 18-4 loss Sunday to the Blue Jays, in which Toronto hit a record-setting eight home runs at Fenway Park, those issues seemed to reach a pinnacle.
Martín Pérez’s start lasted just 1 1/3 innings, and Boston managed the rest of the way with Ryan Weber, who was scheduled to throw in Triple-A, and two position players in Marwin González and Christian Arroyo, to save an already exasperated bullpen.
“We’re past what last year was, all the starters have and probably most of the relievers have passed their innings totals from last year, so there’s definitely a fatigue factor,” Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush said after the loss. “We knew that coming in and we planned for a longer year so there’s gonna be some natural dips along the way but I’m sure that’s part of it. We’re also in a stretch where we don’t have any off days for quite a while and we’re playing some tougher lineups lately, so I think you put all that together, a little bit of fatigue, no time off, they’re out there every five days right now instead of getting an extra day occasionally. And like I said it really comes down to making quality pitches, you know our guys can match up against any lineup, but we have to make good pitches. We have to execute the way that they can on the mound.”
Things would be easier on Bush if the Red Sox had anyone available to plug into the rotation, because injuries to guys like Tanner Houck at the minor league level haven’t allowed Boston to alleviate any fatigue felt by their top five arms.
“Our depth has taken a hit, we have several guys in the minor leagues that either have already pitched or would be pitching in the big leagues. They can’t right now because of injuries. So we’ve known that for a little while, we’ve known that we just have to grind through with the guys we have. I’m sure I’d love to be able to pluck a guy from Triple-A and give everyone an extra day and it’s just not always an option. It’s not an option for us right now. So we’re going to grind through this stretch where guys will keep going out and we got some off days coming up. I mean look, they’re gonna keep coming out and competing and keep fighting.”
Boston has a chance at least to tie the series against Toronto on Monday in the final game of the set.
And a lot is riding on starter Nathan Eovaldi to right the ship.