A gaping maw into the underworld opened up last night. I do not speak of Fenway Park, though there are probably religious traditions who would hold that dilapidated den of pink hats qualifies as such. Perhaps that is why the fissure could open with such ease, why it could spew sulfurous gas and belch searing flames into the cold Boston night. A demon rose up from that portal, dragging its way out by its claws, with sharp, rending talons tearing into the dirt as it entered our mortal plane. The demon was the corporeal manifestation of the Losing Orioles, its true name something in the black tongue of Mordor, which I shall not utter here.
That demon presided over the early portions of the game. It perched upon the tarp, arms crossed, a sword laid across its lap that bled constantly and seemed to echo the cries of tormented souls. We saw the old forms: defensive miscues, dominance at the hands of Jon Lester, and we, the fans, were prepared for the familiar outcome, where our crushed hopes spilled out from us like so many entrails. And on the broadcast and on the Internet we heard the confusing, perplexing and potentially infuriating news that the Orioles were being linked with Miguel Tejada in some way about which no one was entirely sure, but we saw him in 2010 and we know any news on that front is bad news.
So we expected that dark past to assert itself. As one reliever yielded to another, as the innings of puzzling offensive ineptitude against the team with the worst bullpen in baseball stretched on, we bit our nails and waited for when the Wheel of Fortune would land on Bankrupt. This never happened. When they got into jams, they worked out of them, and at long last, a Chris Davis ground ball dribbled past the second baseman and into the outfield as Matt Wieters flew around third base, glorious angelic wings spread behind him to aid him, and scored the go-ahead run. The demon was banished for one more night.
Scarce more than twelve hours later, we are back to do it again. Today, Jason Hammel pitches for the Orioles, and after having to use the bullpen for eight innings last night, they could use a deep outing from him. He'll be opposed by Aaron Cook, who, to the extent that he had anything resembling success in Colorado, did it by getting ground balls. Can he carry that into Fenway? In his career he has a K/9 below 4 and a BB/9 of 2.8. Hitters, you know what to do. You will have to overcome Endy Chavez leading off, but hey, you've done it before.
The Red Sox are now 5-13 in games where they score fewer than 10 runs.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Endy Chavez - LF||Nick Punto - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||David Ortiz - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Mike Aviles - SS|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Ryan Sweeney - RF|
|Wilson Betemit - DH||Cody Ross - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 3B||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Marlon Byrd - CF|