Red Sox: Martín Pérez can’t afford another poor start for Boston

Jul 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) pitches during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) pitches during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Red Sox lefty Martín Pérez must perform to save his job

The Red Sox broke their losing streak last night as they vanquished the pesky Detroit Tigers. Thanks to a stellar outing from Eduardo Rodriguez in what felt like a must-win game, they’ll need some more magic today from another southpaw. Martín Pérez will be on the mound today for Boston and it’s safe to say, his job may be on the line.

I recently wrote about a similar situation surrounding Garrett Richards in his last start and the same sentiment can be said for Pérez. Time is ticking away and a certain slider-loving left-hander is going to be back.

Chaim Bloom will need to make room in his starting rotation for Chris Sale and as I said the other day, Richards and Pérez are the odd men out. Luckily for Martín, Richards went out and stunk up Comerica Park on Tuesday, giving him the perfect chance to shine.

If you’re familiar with anything that I’ve written over the last few years you know one thing is for certain, I’m a Martín Pérez guy. I’m ride or die with the lefty and celebrate Pérez Day like it’s my birthday every fifth day.

But I can also be honest and admit that for as good as he was last season, and he absolutely was, he’s been hard to watch. The occasional brilliant outing seems to often be out shadowed by a quick exit and a beating by the opposition.

The other day I said that a good outing from Richards could save his tail and put the heat on Martín, but that didn’t happen and now Pérez must capitalize. Within the next week or so one of them is going to go one of two routes, the bullpen or the Shadow Realm.

As I sit here writing this right now I would much rather see the lefty stay with the club as he is exactly what he’s supposed to be, a fifth-day starter. But the Red Sox have a second problem they have to solve, Tanner Houck.

Boston is lucky in that they have two guys waiting in the wings to jump into this rotation and two guys that have struggled mightily this season. Should be an easy four-player swing, right?

Well Richards has a massive salary that I’m sure Bloom doesn’t want to admit was a mistake and Pérez has earned everything he’s gotten since coming to the Red Sox. But he still has to perform and that means shutting down the Tigers today. Another short day on the mound surely spells the end of his time with the club.

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I wouldn’t mind moving Pérez to the bullpen to give those guys another arm to work with and add in some extra rest. As we make our way down the stretch toward the postseason Alex Cora is going to need every weapon at his disposal, and moving Pérez to the relief side of the game could be a boost. He can come into pitch in extended relief or simply as a middle-of-the-game guy to rest up a Hirokazu Sawamura or Josh Taylor.

Pérez is 7-7 on the year with a 4.56 ERA in 98.2 innings of work. Again, as a fifth starter in the rotation that’s right about where you’d expect him to fall. A good start today could mean longer life in the rotation as The Boogeyman and Houck-A-Mania come knocking at the door. Another outing like we saw him have against Tampa, and his future isn’t so sure.

He’ll also be a free agent after this season if his club option isn’t picked up, so Bloom may want to squeeze as much juice out of the Pérez fruit as he can. On the other hand, his small salary and pending exit may mean Chaim has no second thoughts of DFA’ing him in an attempt to beef up his staff as October approaches. In my ideal world, Pérez remains in the rotation or at least is in the bullpen while Richards is given a bus ticket and a pat on the back.

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I’m a big Martín Pérez fan and I’ve loved his passion and energy not just for this club but the city of Boston since he arrived here in 2020. I want nothing more than for him to do well and to finish out whatever playing time he has left with this organization. Unfortunately, the sands are falling through the hourglass and if he can’t perform then we may be seeing the end of Pérez Day at Fenway Park.