Red Sox Notes: Boston Praises Kevin Gausman After Shutdown Performance

Gausman threw 80% of his pitches for strikes in the 3-2 verdict

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April 21, 2022

The Boston Red Sox ran into Kevin Gausman at his best Thursday at Fenway Park, and the right-hander helped the Toronto Blue Jays claim a 3-2 verdict in the series finale.

The Blue Jays starting pitcher was dominant while silencing Boston’s bats, throwing 80% of his pitches for strikes while needing just 61 pitches to get through his first six innings of work. Gausman (8.0 innings, seven hits, one run, nine strikeouts) was pulled after allowing his seventh knock on a lead-off single by Trevor Story in the ninth inning.

“Yeah, he was tough,” acting Red Sox manager Will Venable said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “(Split-finger) and sliders were working below the zone. That was a challenge for us, we knew coming in. He obviously did a great job, was really efficient.”

Gausman, perhaps as depicted by the fact he threw 70 of his 88 pitches for strikes, constantly was getting ahead in the count. He faced just three batters in the first, third, fourth, fifth and eighth innings.

“Yeah, I mean, we swung a little early today, but if you look at it and be honest with yourself you’re 0-1, 0-2 every at-bat. That’s the kind of way I felt for myself today,” Xander Bogaerts said while referencing Gausman’s ability to get ahead early. “Today was a tough one. We ran into one of their best pitchers.”

Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck added: “Yeah, I mean he’s got good (stuff). That as simple as you can put it. … You don’t get to this level without having good stuff. So he was out there really mixing well. Really good slider, good splitter, as well.”

Here are some more notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:

— Venable was Boston’s acting manager Thursday after manage Alex Cora tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday before the series finale. Cora, who is dealing with minor symptoms, will not travel to Tampa Bay for Boston’s upcoming three-game series.

“I know he wasn’t feeling well,” Venable said of Cora after the game. “Took a test. Then took another test. Before the game I was alerted I was going to be managing, so that was the timeline.”

— While facing Gausman did make it hard on the Red Sox, the fact is they scored two or fewer runs during each of their three games against the Blue Jays in the series. Bogaerts admitted he is a little surprised by the slow offensive start given Boston’s depth in the lineup.

“A little bit,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously we know that’s one of our stronger points that we have going for us. But, listen, we had a short spring training. I don’t want to make excuses, but it’s tough when you got to get your timing back and got to do it up in the big leagues and be quick about it. Hopefully, we’ll get hot sooner rather than later.”

— Houck put together another fine performance in his third start of the season. The Red Sox now are 2-1 in games in which the right-hander starts, though, Thursday’s loss had more to do with the offense than Houck, who went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits.

“In terms of just command and in terms of stuff-wise, four-seam I felt was really good today,” Houck said after the game. “Definitely felt like I also started feeling the slider again, that’s a big pitch for me, as well as throwing the splitter. I feel like that’s been my best off-speed pitch this early in the season so far.”

— Bogaerts now has had multiple hits in four of the last five games for the Red Sox, adding a 3-for-4 performance Thursday.

— The Red Sox now will get set to start a three-game series in Tampa Bay on Friday, though they will be missing Cora. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch it all on NESN with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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