If you want to focus on the here and the now ... the Red Sox lost Saturday night.
It was their first foray into the new extra-inning rule and even though the Sox scored in their half of the 10th inning on three straight walks -- scoring designated runner Alex Verdugo -- the Orioles did one better in the home half of the frame. Bunt single. Single. Wild pitch. Intentional walk. Game-winning single. There you have it, end of Ron Roenicke's three-game winning streak thanks to Baltimore's 5-4 win at Camden Yards. (For a complete box score, click here.)
It's why the biggest development Saturday night involved the starting pitcher who ended up without a decision.
Martin Perez has always represented the Chaim Bloom approach, at least the one we've witnessed since his arrival with the Red Sox.
Perez is a pitcher who the Red Sox targeted despite horrible numbers with the idea that a tweak here, a tweak there, along with an alteration of address and the result would be something different. One of the first was Perez, who signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with a team option, and the latest is Nick Pivetta, the power-arm, under-performing pitcher the Sox got in their trade with Philadelphia.
Keep in mind what Bloom mentioned Friday night when talking about such a strategy:
"When I say that I have a lot of faith in our group here, but I also don’t want to imply that there is something that somebody else didn’t do that we’re going to magically figure out. We’re always trying those things. But in some cases, a change of scenery can help a player like this. In some cases, further opportunity can help a player like this. We have talked about it at different times. Sometimes results don’t go a player’s way because of things that are beyond their control, or even if there are things that they did control that you would expect would turn out differently. I think there is some of that here too. Sometimes it takes that change of scenery for a player to exhale and maybe be able to do something he couldn’t. Sometimes it’s just a chance of getting an opportunity in some way that maybe had run out somewhere else."
If you're looking for hope regarding Pivetta, Perez is a good place to start.
The lefty who had totaled a combined 5.49 ERA in his previous two seasons has emerged into quite a find for the Red Sox. After allowing one run over seven innings Perez's ERA sits at 3.45 with an opponents' batting average of .198. His fastball hit 95 mph, with the Orioles swinging and missing 13 times.
An adjustment here, and an adjustment there ...
"After my last start, I talked to my strength coach that I wanted to change my workout, especially with my lower body," Perez said after the game. "We changed a little bit, just doing more heavy exercise and just give me a chance to go a little bit high with my velocity. That was a key."
"Great outing," Roenicke said of Perez. "The last two outings we got from Nate (Eovaldi) and then Martin, they were outstanding. Seven innings, great job commanding the ball all night, good changeup, and really good fastball. Really commanded it well. It’s just too bad we didn’t get a win."
Now comes Bloom's next decision.
If the Chief Baseball Officer believes this production out of Perez is not an aberration, then the obvious move would be to keep him at a very manageable rate for 2021. But there is that history of the southpaw going on a run only to fall off a cliff, as was the case in 2019 when he went 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his first eight starts.
Bloom has one more start before the Aug. 31 trade deadline to figure that out.
But for the time being the presence of the pitcher should be a feather in this new regime's cap. The approach of banking on the future instead of the past isn't exactly exclusive to Bloom, with the Red Sox having viewed Eovaldi in a similar manner before the new CBO's arrival. But it is seemingly being taken to another level, as the Pivetta trade reminded us.