Tonight’s game between the Orioles and Red Sox did not go the way the Orioles or their fans wanted it to. In this biggest series of the year the Orioles started with a whimper, completely failing to do anything at the plate against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. Add to that a poor game from Dylan Bundy and it was a recipe for disaster that pushed the Orioles to four games back in the division.
Despite throwing a ton of pitches over the first two innings, Bundy managed to make it to the third inning before he gave up a run. If you’ve watched any games between these teams this year you won’t be surprised to hear that the runs came on a Mookie Betts homer.
Bundy had been consistently pitching to Betts down in the strike zone. With Xander Bogaerts on first base for Betts’s second at bat, Matt Wieters set up low and away. Bundy’s pitch went up and in and Betts hit a line drive that landed about five rows back in the left field stands.
After Bundy had labored through four innings, he came back out for the fifth and couldn’t keep it together. After Dustin Pedroia singled in the third run of the game, David Ortiz hit his 35th home run of the season to right field. As if the game couldn’t get any worse, we now had to listen to the Red Sox fans in the stands chant “Papi” as though they were at their home park.
Contrast that to Porcello’s start and it was night and day. Remember how good Porcello was last week? It was about the same tonight. He kept his pitch count crazy low and didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning. The Orioles were swinging early in the count but nearly all of Porcello’s pitches were in the strike zone, so what are you gonna do.
We finally got some excitement in the fourth inning when Porcello hit Manny Machado with two outs. For reasons only known the Manny he decided to jaw at Porcello on his way to first base. There was no way Porcello hit Manny on purpose; he hadn’t allowed a baserunner and was completely owning the O’s. Relax, Manny.
With a runner on base Mark Trumbo came to the plate and lined a ball down the left field line for a double. Bogaerts couldn’t play the carom off the scoreboard so Machado was able to score to make the game 2-1 in favor of the Red Sox.
Manny appeared to be glaring at Porcello after he scored, but as Jim Palmer pointed out he was looking in the wrong direction since Porcello was backing up home plate. Regardless, it seemed like the encounter got into Machado’s head more than it did Porcello; Porcello made Manny look foolish with two swinging strikeouts in his next two at-bats.
It wasn’t until the eighth inning that the Orioles got on the board again. Porcello had breezed through the first seven inning and after getting two outs in the eighth he put a ball over the plate that Adam Jones smacked out of the park for his 28th home run of the year. It was useless, an FUHR at its best, but still a nice break in what was otherwise a miserable game.
Porcello came back out for the ninth and retired the Orioles 1-2-3. Two of the outs were long fly balls, but not long enough. He finished the game with only 89 pitches, which is just absurd.
It’s worth noting that when Buck Showalter pulled Bundy after five innings he didn’t go to any of the so-called good relief pitchers. It was as if he knew the Orioles had nothing against Porcello tonight. But to their credit, they did very well. Brian Duensing, Tyler Wilson, Jayson Aquino, and Vance Worley combined to pitch four innings with no walks and only three hits allowed. Well done, B Team!
Tomorrow the Orioles will try to get back on track with Kevin Gausman on the mound versus Eduardo Rodriguez. If they can win the next three they’ll still be in this thing.