My apologies on the lateness of this recap, but sometimes the Orioles play their 75th day game in the first week of the season and then when I stop for a routine checkup at the doctor I find out that their entire computer system has been upgraded which means they have to re-enter every bit of information about me and every patient they see that day, which means that I don't get home from there until 7:45 and suddenly the sandwich I had for lunch seems like a million years ago and that makes me cranky and not at all in the mood to write about the Orioles' third loss in a row as soon as I get home.
Phew. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. So about that baseball game today. Let's start with the good: Wei-Yin Chen. His final line wasn't that impressive at 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K, and one soul crushing home run. But through the first six innings, Chen baffled the Red Sox despite not racking up a lot of strikeouts. Through six innings he allowed four baserunners, none of whom got further than first base.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, Clay Buchholz was even better than Chen. He baffled the O's lineup for seven innings, shutting them out on three hits. He did walk four (including Chris Davis twice) but thanks in part to eight strikeouts the Orioles were never able to put together a rally. The only time the Orioles had more than one baserunner in an inning against Buchholz was in the third, when Manny Machado and Nick Markakis singled with two outs. Unfortunately Adam Jones was called out on strikes to end the inning.
The later it got in the game, the more nervous I got and I know the same goes for all of you. The offense was simply baffled and they were running out of time. What we feared would happen came to pass in the seventh when Chen finally stumbled and gave up three runs.
The inning started with Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball toward shortstop that J.J. Hardy got a glove on, but the throw was too late to get the runner at first. Mike Napoli followed that with a long fly ball that hit off the center field wall. For some reason Pedroia was held at third, and so there were two runners in scoring position with no outs.
It's well documented that Chen has trouble in the seventh inning, but I don't think that means he should have been pulled. He had a quick sixth inning and looked to be well in control. I do wish that Tommy Hunter had been ready to come in at the first sign of trouble, though.
Chen came back to strike out Will Middlebrooks to get the first out, but that would be the last batter he got out. Chen threw Daniel Nava three fastballs, and the third one Nava crushed for a three-run homer, costing the Orioles the lead.
Then, one batter too late, Tommy Hunter came into the game. He got the last two outs of the inning and pitched a perfect eighth, but the damage was done.
Andrew Bailey pitched the eighth inning for the Red Sox, getting the Orioles 1-2-3. Finally the O's made some noise in the 9th against closer Joel Hanrahan, but it was too little too late. Adam Jones led off the inning with the Orioles first FUHR of the season to make the score 3-1, and then Hardy doubled with two outs. Ryan Flaherty stepped to the plate representing the tying run, but it might as well have been no one in the box for as likely as he was to get a hit. He popped up to end the game and extend the O's losing streak to 3.
The Orioles are off tomorrow and hopefully when they resume on Wednesday the bats will have woken up.