Boston Red Sox: The night Alex Verdugo saved the 2021 season

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 07: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox follows his ball as he his a home run in the sixth inning of Game Two of the doubleheader MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 07: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox follows his ball as he his a home run in the sixth inning of Game Two of the doubleheader MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox Alex Cora (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox manager minute: Alex Cora has some pitching decisions to make

Despite losing Game 1 of the double header, the Red Sox really shut down the Blue Jays and were a clutch hit or two away from sweeping both games.

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Following Nick Pivetta’s outstanding performance and Houck’s blazing start, the Red Sox starters combined for 9 2/3 of solid pitching.  As much as Verdugo’s clutch homer may have saved the season, the combined pitching performance may be the real turning point with Sale on his way back.

If this team can get Eduardo Rodriguez back to form and Nathan Eovaldi back to pitching like an All-Star, suddenly the rotation could be a real strength with Pivetta and Houck holding down the No. 4 and No. 5 spots.

Tough decisions ahead for Alex Cora but given what the Red Sox front office didn’t do at the MLB Trade Deadline, its actually a good position to be in with the team’s ace blazing his way through his rehab stints.

"“We pitched well the whole day, so that’s a positive for us,” Cora said postgame.  “What Nick did in the first game, and when what Tanner and the rest of the crew did in the second one, that’s good.  Tomorrow [Sunday] we got Garrett [Richards] and hopefully we can continue doing that.  That’s a good start of what we’re trying to accomplish, getting better pitching-wise.”"

In fact, if Richards can find a way to be competitive on the mound like he has been during stretches of the season, Cora and the Red Sox will be in real good shape.  But, also giving how badly Richards has pitched during stretches of the season, the best bets are really Sale and Houck stabilizing the rotation.

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Of course, none of it will matter if the offense can’t put runs on the board.  But maybe that turned around on a 2-2 curveball belted into the center field seats off the bat of Mr. Verdugo.

Sometimes it just takes that one moment to save a season.