There’s a new clubhouse leader for Major League Baseball’s “Worst Swing of the Year.”
Red Sox starter Martin Perez took a swing that missed the pitch by about three feet on Friday night.
Perez did a much better job on the mound, throwing six innings of three-run ball to lead the Red Sox to an 11-3 win over the Phillies. But his work at the plate had his teammates laughing in the dugout for a while.
“If you see the replay he actually got lucky because he almost twisted his ankle when he tried to get out of the way,” manager Alex Cora said. “So they were giving him a hard time. But he pitched well.”
Martin Perez strikes out in fashion. pic.twitter.com/atJhfcafNd
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) May 22, 2021
Aaron Nola threw him a 1-2 curveball that was so low and inside it hit Perez in the back foot. But he had already begun his waist-high swing and couldn’t stop himself as he took an awkward hack while his body turned sideways.
“You’re trying to hit the fastball and he threw me a breaking ball and it hit my foot,” Perez said. “But you know, that happens when you don’t hit and you play in American League. But it was fun, enjoying that moment and just trying to stay focused on my game.”
He ended the plate with both feet facing the pitchers mound. Even though the ball hit him, his poor swing resulted in a strikeout.
“He came in the dugout all serious, like, ‘the ball hit me,’” Cora said. “Then he started laughing ,so we were able to laugh with him too.”
Having spent his entire career in the American League, the 30-year-old lefty entered the game just 1-for-23 with 19 strikeouts at the plate.
He added three more strikeouts on Friday, including his swing in the second inning that’ll be played on blooper reels for years to come.
“It was fun after that at-bat,” Perez said. “Just trying to stay focused because I don’t want distractions. I just come here to pitch. It’s hard when you pitch in the American League and just come to the National League. My job is just to go out there and give my team a chance to win.”
On the mound, Perez has a 3.55 ERA and has gone six straight starts without allowing more than three runs.
“I think we’re using all the pitches,” catcher Christian Vazquez said. “Now we’re pitching up. That changed everything, with the eye level of the hitter. After that, we can use whatever off-speed is working, the curveball, changeup away, and his cutter.
“Everybody is pitching good. It’s fun to be behind and catching those guys, to see success, getting the win for them. We’re responding back. They give up some runs, we are responding back to support him.”