Red Sox

Why Martin Perez's ex-manager believes Red Sox pitcher will have strong season

Why Martin Perez's ex-manager believes Red Sox pitcher will have strong season

The Boston Red Sox need Martin Perez to be good at his job in 2020.

His former boss believes he's up to the task.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli spoke glowingly this week of Perez, who spent the 2019 season in Minnesota before the Red Sox signed him to a one-year, $6 million contract in December.

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“Martin did a nice job for us,” Baldelli said, via Mass Live's Chris Cotillo. “He pitched us to opportunities to win games consistently. He competed very well. He was very open to making adjustments. And he’s a really good teammate. There’s really not much more you could ask for."

Perez's numbers suggest a slightly different story: The Venezuela native posted a 5.12 ERA and 1.518 WHIP in 2019 and allowed four or more runs in 12 of his 29 starts.

But Baldelli believes Perez suffered from some bad luck last season and predicted a bounce-back campaign for the 28-year-old.

"If he continues to do what he has been doing and continues to make the adjustments he has been making, I would anticipate a very nice season," Baldelli said.

"I don’t have all the numbers in front of me but the stuff was really good. He came out of the chute last year throwing the ball pretty incredibly. But I think he’s also still figuring out what he’s capable of and what his strengths are. When he takes advantage of those strengths, he’s certainly going to give his team a chance to win."

Perez did average a career-high 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings last season after adding a cutter to his arsenal and pitched at least six full innings in 15 starts.

The Red Sox will need Perez to eat up innings as their fourth starter after losing David Price and Rick Porcello this offseason. If he lives up to Baldelli's billing, he'll provide much-needed stability to a rotation that's unsettled behind top three starters Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi.

Red Sox' Alex Verdugo robs home run, celebrates with awesome reaction

Red Sox' Alex Verdugo robs home run, celebrates with awesome reaction

Alex Verdugo made best play of his young Boston Red Sox career Friday night, and he was well aware of it.

With the Red Sox leading the Blue Jays by two runs in the ninth inning, Verdugo leaped in front of the right field bullpen at Fenway Park to rob Toronto's Travis Shaw of a home run.

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The play was impressive in its own right, but the 24-year-old outfielder punctuated it with a great reaction.

Verdugo's scream of celebration was audible on the game broadcast (even above the fake crowd noise), a sign of just how fired up he was about the catch.

"I would say I’ve never screamed like that before,” Verdugo said after Boston's 5-3 win, via the Associated Press. “I used to be a pitcher back in the day. I was pretty hyped up."

Verdugo had two other reasons to be hyped up: He also blasted a pair of solo home runs, giving him three on the young season and earning a spot alongside legendary left-handed slugger Mo Vaughn.

The Red Sox aren't expected to make much noise this season, but it appears the former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder will do his best to raise the decibel level.

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Highlights: Alex Verdugo homers twice in Boston's second straight win

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Highlights: Alex Verdugo homers twice in Boston's second straight win

FINAL SCORE: Boston Red Sox 5, Toronto Blue Jays 3

IN BRIEF: Alex Verdugo homered twice and Mitch Moreland added one of his own in the Red Sox' win over the Blue Jays on Friday night. The Red Sox capitalized on a woeful outing from Blue Jays starter Tanner Roark, who walked five batters and allowed four runs in three innings pitched.

Sox starter Ryan Weber allowed two runs in three innings, then the bullpen put together an admirable effort to preserve the lead.

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BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 5-8

HIGHLIGHTS

Well, that escalated quickly

Verdugo's first Fenway homer

Moreland's two-run shot

Vlad Jr. brings Jays within one

Homer No. 2 for Verdugo...

...and then he robs one!

UP NEXT
vs. Blue Jays, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., NESN
vs. Blue Jays, Sunday, 1:35 p.m., NESN