Red Sox Notes: Martín Pérez Having Best Season Of Any Boston Starter

Pérez was dominant Thursday against the Astros

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Jun 3, 2021

Things obviously can change, but make no mistake: At this point, Martín Pérez is having the best season of any Red Sox starter.

The veteran lefty was brilliant Thursday, needing just 82 pitches to twirl 7 2/3 shutout innings in Boston’s 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros. It was the best outing in a Red Sox uniform for Pérez, who allowed only six hits and issued just one walk.

“He’s been good the whole season,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “And there are certain times we take him out of the game early, but today he was on top the game … throwing strikes, on control.”

The 30-year-old now is 4-2 with a rotation-best 3.09 ERA — not bad for a No. 5 starter. Sure, Nick Pivetta and Nathan Eovaldi both have better WHIPs, opponent batting averages and, frankly, stuff, but Pérez has been the most consistent member of the staff.

Check out these numbers:

He also has been effective against quality offenses. The Red Sox this season have beaten the Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies in games in which Pérez has started.

So, what’s been the key for Pérez?

” .. He’s throwing strikes, not nibbling too much, ahead in the count,” Cora said. ” … This guy throughout the years, he’s induced the opposition to weak contact. When he uses his pitches where he has to, this is what happens. He feels very comfortable where he’s at. He feels strong right now.”

Pérez himself added: “I just go out there and compete, pitch for contact. … Just trying to throw quality pitches. (It’s) not every time you can go out there and pitch for strikeouts. When you go out there and pitch to contact … you can go deep into games. And that’s going to make you win more games.”

Time will tell whether Pérez can keep this up. For now, the Red Sox and their fans simply should appreciate one of the season’s most pleasant surprises.

Here are more notes from Thursday’s game between the Red Sox and Astros:

— Pérez seemed destined to throw a complete game before he was lifted with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Cora didn’t answer one way or the other whether he would’ve left his starter in the game if the bases were empty.

“We gotta manage the game,” he said. “That’s a really good lineup. … We manage the game to win, and he gave us a good chance to win.”

— Pérez, Pivetta and Garrett Richards all entered the season as relative rotation after thoughts. But all three have been excellent, especially lately.

— Xander Bogaerts on Thursday broke out of his recent slump with two hits, including a two-run double that gave the Red Sox extra breathing room.

— Christian Arroyo provided the biggest hit, a three-run third-inning blast that was his first homer of the season.

“Always nice to get the first one out of the way,” he said after the game. ” … Was able to pull through our guys and allow Martín to do his thing and cruise. Pretty incredible what he did out there.”

— Thursday provided more bad news for Boston’s farm system as Thaddeus Ward, one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, underwent Tommy John surgery.

— Brandon Workman was called up by the Red Sox Thursday morning and handled the ninth inning, allowing a one-out homer to Yuli Gurriel. The veteran reliever struck out two batters and showed off a low-90s fastball and sharp curveball.

— Alex Cora was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Lance Barrett.

— The Rays beat the New York Yankees on Thursday, meaning the Red Sox stayed two games back of Tampa Bay for first place in the American League East.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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