Red Sox 5, Rays 0
TAMPA, August 5 — A pair of two-run home runs from Alex Verdugo and Michael Chavis gave the Boston Red Sox the offensive boost they had been looking for. Martin Perez was far from sharp in his third start of 2020 but was able to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays lineup long enough to give his side a chance.
All Eyes on Verdugo
The Red Sox recorded a hit in each of the first three innings, but it wasn’t until the fourth that the team finally started to make some noise. Chavis got aboard with two outs in the inning and Verdugo dug in next. Ryan Yarbrough hung an 0-1 curveball to the newly acquired outfielder and Verdugo turned it around into the first row of the right field bleachers. The homer put the Red Sox ahead 2-0.
Verdugo’s fourth inning homer was his first since joining the Red Sox this offseason, and all eyes are now on him. A big factor in how fans would judge the trade for Mookie Betts relied on how much money Betts would get paid. Now that the former MVP has signed a 12-year $365 million extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers its safe to turn the attention to the other half of the deal.
Now that Betts’ price tag is in ink the judgement on Verdugo comes a bit earlier than expected. In a season where the Red Sox don’t appear to be much of a threat, it will be important for Verdugo to put up numbers and prove to Red Sox Nation that he is every bit the top prospect the Dodgers advertised him as.
The outfielder explained that the lack of access to film has attributed to his .258 average to this point in the season. He says that he has felt late with his timing but is beginning to feel more comfortable after his first homer of the year on Wednesday.
Alex Verdugo hit a home run last night. So there you go … pic.twitter.com/6OWFiQtQK5
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) August 6, 2020
Chavis Blows it Open
The Red Sox did some more damage in the sixth with some help from Chavis once again. Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a hard-hit double to the wall. Christian Vazquez continued his hot streak with an RBI single to left field, scoring Bogaerts. Chavis stepped in next and took a few moments to admire his work. The first baseman turned on a 3-2 changeup, sending it out into the left-center field seats. This gave Chavis his third hit on the day and the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.
Chavis has gotten off to a slow start after a poor finish to 2019. He is currently batting .240 with two homers. The second-year player has been given plenty of opportunities in the lineup platooning with Mitch Moreland. His 3-for-4 game on Wednesday will be important for Chavis to try and get out of this funk.
Perez Gives Red Sox a Chance
Martin Perez tossed five innings of shutout baseball on Wednesday striking out four batters. Perez wasn’t as sharp as his final stat line may allude to; he wasn’t crippling to the Red Sox lineup, however. The left-hander found himself deep into counts for much of his night. His command wasn’t pinpoint, but the biggest thing is that he didn’t miss out over the middle of the plate; Perez often missed on the outside of the zone which led to such deep counts. He didn’t allow the Rays a chance to capitalize on his mistakes.
A start like this can be refreshing for the Red Sox. The team let up at least five runs per game in each of the four-game losing skid. Perez now sits at 2-1 through three starts this season with a 3.45 ERA. He has only ended a season with an ERA below 4.00 once in his career.
Red Sox Welcome Blue Jays to Fenway
The Red Sox will head home for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays starting on Friday. The Red Sox will send RHP Ryan Weber to the hill on Friday. The Blue Jays are yet to announce their starter for game one. Weber will deliver the first pitch at 7:30 ET on Friday night.
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