The Boston Red Sox rotation hasn’t had its best stretch of the season over the last week or so, but the rest of the team wants to lift the starters up.
With Martín Pérez on the mound Sunday, there were a few “Pérez Day” T-shirts being rocked by players ahead of Boston’s Sunday afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Even manager Alex Cora wore a knit that read “sneaky good” on it to support the pitcher in his pregame Zoom availability with media.
“I had that Pérez Day shirt and I had to throw it away because it wasn?t a good one,” Cora told reporters. “I just grabbed this one from the locker. We had this one from Day 1, it’s just what we’ve got in the locker, you just put it on.”
After Saturday night’s loss to the Blue Jays, where the Red Sox gave up five home runs, both Cora and starter Nick Pivetta expressed they aren’t giving much credence to how the last run through the rotation has gone.
And amid another strange season with COVID-19 protocols, the T-shirts are a way of staying together as a group during slumps.
“It’s a good group, they like each other,” Cora said. “There’s a lot of people here with the Martín Day or Pérez Day shirts today. That’s what it’s all about over 162 games. It’s just the friendships and staying together. Obviously, it’s a lot harder than a normal season. On the road, you cannot go out as a group to have dinner, and you have to still stay in your rooms and all that. So, stuff like this, it helps. It’s something that teams always do, and I think we have a good group in here that they understand that. We try to make it as fun as possible. We try to get as close as possible, and it’s always good. I always feel like, in situations like this, we talk about chemistry, but what comes first? The winning comes first, and then everybody gets together? Or everybody gets together, and then the we start winning? At the end of the day, we all get together, we all like each other. It’s been great to see these guys grow as a group, and we just gotta keep getting better.”
Despite the rotation’s woes, the bullpen and offense at times have kept the team in the game as they’ve struggled since a recent sweep of the New York Yankees.
We’ll see how Pérez throws against Toronto, and if he needs more of a lift from his team than just the shirts.