So this game? Blew. First of all, it took forever, because the Red Sox are incapable of playing a game in under 3.5 hours. Honestly, I know they win a lot in recent years and all that, but I don't know how Red Sox fans do it. Watching the Red Sox play baseball sucks all of the fun out of the game. This game was mostly excruciating thanks to the outcome, but the fact that it was only the 7th inning at 10:15 p.m. was almost as bad.
The offense scored seven runs, which is good and should be enough to win most games, but the truth is they had a lot of ugly moments and probably could have easily dropped double digits on Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston relievers. They left eleven runners on base. Not as bad as the fifteen the Red Sox left, but the winners don't have to lament things like that.
Matsuzaka was simply terrible last night. He walked seven batters in 4.1 innings and gave up five earned runs before Terry Francona pulled him. The O's had a 6-0 lead before the Red Sox even got on the board.
Chris Tillman was better than Matsuzaka, but he threw a ton of pitches early on before settling down a bit. He ultimately threw five shutout innings and was at 88 pitches when Buck Showalter removed him. The reason he removed him wasn't because Tillman was being babied, but rather because he'd been fighting back stiffness all day and it was getting worse as he pitched. With a six-run lead and the game seemingly in hand, Showalter decided to give him a rest.
I hate the Orioles bullpen. Have I mentioned that to anyone? Mike Gonzalez sucks. He's just terrible. I'm so tired of his face. He relieved Tillman and allowed the first four batters to reach (with some help from his friends, of course; Luke Scott misplayed J.D. Drew's single, allowing him to reach second base, and Mark Reynolds let a ball go under his glove). Gonzalez finally recorded an out after allowing two runs to score, and was lifted for Jeremy Accardo.
Accardo is also not good at pitching, and he induced a fly ball by Dustin Pedroia for the second out before giving up back-to-back RBI hits to Adrian Gonzalaz and Kevin Youkilis. Accardo isn't good at pitching, but at least he gave up hits to hitters that are actually good and not Jason Varitek the way Gonzalez did.
Clay Rapada replaced Accardo and after the imp walked David Ortiz (it appeared that he might be pitching around him), he retired J.D. Drew (who started the ending) to finally end the misery. Just like that the Orioles lead had gone from 6-0 to 6-5 and the good citizens of Birdland could feel the doom of the inevitable collapse.
In the top of the seventh, Reynolds tried to atone for his error in the field and give the Orioles some breathing room on the scoreboard by launching a home run to center field, but Jim Johnson gave it right back in the bottom of the inning. Jed Lowrie tripled leading off then scored on a single by the corpse of Jason Varitek. Seriously, Orioles, what on earth? TWO RBI singles by Varitek?
Koji Uehara pitched the eighth inning and it looked like it would be more of the same when Youkilis doubled to start the inning, but Koji worked out of it, preserving the one-run lead going into the ninth.
And you know what that means. Good old Kevin Gregg. Gregg got the first out, retiring Varitek on a fly ball (finally, someone contains Jason Varitek!) but then walked the next two batters. I know! I just love when guys walk two batters to get to Adrian Gonzalez. Because this game was predictable from from sixth inning on, you know what happened next. Gonzalez doubled to center field and the two batters that got on base via the walk scored the tying and winning runs.
I hope Kevin Gregg feel guilty when he gets his paycheck. This game wasn't all on him, of course, but STOP WALKING PEOPLE YOU DOLT! He has now walked 12 batters in 15.1 innings, which is more than his career numbers, and he's not even normally good at not walking people.
Anyway, O's lose, 8-7. What a debacle.