Any game that features Manny Machado soaking in the boos of Red Sox fans and responding by hitting a home run, admiring it, then doing a David Ortiz-esque slow-walk around the basepaths to more boos is by default a good game. That the Orioles won the game thanks to a dominant Dylan Bundy and a host of Red Sox buffoonery is really just icing on the cake.
Facing the Red Sox for the third time in less than a month, you had to wonder whether Bundy would be able to adjust to hitters adjusting to him. Well, friends, the answer is yes. Bundy blanked the Sox for the first seven innings and pitched so well that manager Buck Showalter chose to have him start the eighth inning at 99 pitches with nobody even warming behind him. That’s confidence.
While Bundy was destroying the hopes and dreams of Sox hitters, the Sox defense staggered around helplessly. Boston committed four errors in the game, which is just really tough for an MLB team to do. Several different Sox forgot where and how to throw at crucial moments. The Orioles were happy to get all the help they could.
Beginning with a pitcher’s duel
The way that Bundy has been pitching so far this year, one could fairly say that a matchup between he and Rick Porcello is one between last year’s Cy Young winner and one of this year’s contenders.
Through four innings, each team had only one hit and they didn’t look especially close to getting anything more than that. Bundy did walk a batter in each of the first, second, and fourth innings, but these didn’t hurt thanks in part to some nice plays by the O’s defense to convert ground balls into outs.
The Orioles offense finally broke through in the fifth after flailing away against Porcello up until that point. Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with his second hit of the night. There Schoop still stood with two outs when Caleb Joseph, he of the no RBI all last year, came to the plate.
Joseph ripped a pitch from Porcello that rolled all the way to the wall in the left-center field gap for a double. Schoop motored all the way around from first to score on the play for the first Orioles run of the game.
A+ troll Manny Machado
The best way to get revenge is on the scoreboard. That’s all there is to it. Machado, who had a Red Sox pitcher throw at his head in the last series, then got booed by the Sox fans all night despite being the guy whose livelihood was threatened.
So how did he get his revenge for that? The best way possible: In the sixth inning, he launched a home run that looked like it left the Fenway Park premises, out over and beyond the Green Monster seats and billboards, perhaps eventually causing damage to someone’s cah in the pahking lot.
Machado took time to gaze upon this beautiful home run and then sought to grok its fullness with a slow trot around the bases. Tater trot tracking aficionados noted that this 29.51 second home run trot was the second-slowest that Machado has done since 2015. Hmm. Interesting.
In the bottom of the same inning, Bundy hit Mookie Betts with a pitch. In this scenario, with the Orioles leading 2-0, it’s hard to believe Bundy would have hit Betts on purpose to bring the tying run up to the plate. MASN’s Jim Palmer, after offering that same thought, then suggested that, if Bundy was trying to hit someone, Betts would be the guy to hit, and that Bundy did it in the “right” way by getting Betts in the thigh.
On purpose or not, the outcome is probably enough that the Red Sox media-fueled drama will continue. Bundy, cool customer that he is, retired the next two batters - thanks in part to a nice play made by Adam Jones in center field.
Jones seemed to be trying to match Machado play-for-play on the highlight reel in the field in this game. He, too, had a little extra motivation, as a fan apparently threw something at him while he was returning to the dugout at some point in the game. After at least one of his nice plays tonight, he appeared to gesture emphatically (but non-vulgarly) towards the crowd.
Does Showalter trust the Orioles bullpen?
Sometimes it seems like Showalter is the only person in Baltimore who isn’t worried about the health of Bundy’s elbow.
The Orioles took a 5-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning. They were gifted the three runs they scored by the Red Sox defense, which committed three throwing errors on three consecutive plays in the inning, two of which were on could-be inning-ending double plays.
Pitcher Heath Hembree tossed a Jones comebacker into center field when he meant to throw it to second base. Third baseman Marco Hernandez dropped a Machado ground ball that should have been a 5-4-3 double play. And then on a Mark Trumbo single, left fielder Andrew Benintendi airmailed a throw back to the catcher.
Two runs scored across these plays and they set up Machado at third base, where he scored on a Chris Davis sacrifice fly.
I mention these three gift runs because even with this five run lead, Showalter chose to push Bundy to start the eighth, as if he feared his bullpen. This decision worked out poorly, though it wasn’t all Bundy’s fault. Hernandez led off with a double, then Bundy got Xander Bogaerts to hit a pop-up into the outfield that the shortstop usually catches.
However, J.J. Hardy, after calling for the ball, veered away and the ball dropped in. This was scored a single because baseball’s scoring rules are sometimes unfair to pitchers. Still Showalter left in Bundy and Benintendi brought home the first Red Sox run with a single.
Finally, Showalter summoned Darren O’Day, who hasn’t exactly inspired confidence. The Red Sox gave him a break, too. With one out, Hanley Ramirez hit a ball off the Monster in left field.
Bogaerts scored easily, but surprise left fielder Ryan Flaherty made a nice play on the ball and fired back in to the infield... where both Benintendi and Ramirez were in the vicinity of second base in a hilarious baserunning gaffe. Benintendi was tagged out.
Mitch Moreland followed by ripping a line drive to center field that Jones ran down to catch - and, it must be noted, would probably not have been able to catch if he wasn’t playing deeper. O’Day allowed no runs of his own but didn’t make anyone feel good.
All in all, Bundy’s line was seven innings plus three batters, with two runs allowed on five hits and four walks with two strikeouts. He could well have had a goose egg in the earned run line. Bundy now has a 1.82 ERA. Amazing.
Brad Brach pitched a drama-free ninth inning for his fifth save in Zach Britton’s absence. With the win, the Orioles are alone atop the AL East. The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, 7-1, on Monday night.
Ordinarily, you’d expect a team to lose a game where they get only six hits. Indeed, the Red Sox got only six hits and lost. The O’s got six hits and won. Maybe they stole another one. They don’t have to give it back.
The four-game set against Boston continues on Tuesday night when fifth starter substitute Alec Asher takes the ball for the O’s against the Sox own Cy contender, Chris Sale.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for May 1, 2017?
This poll is closed
Dylan Bundy (seven brilliant innings)
Manny Machado (homer, defense, trolling)
Adam Jones (great catches all game)