The Orioles Boston nightmare continued on Sunday. With snow falling and just about every player on the field covered from head to toe in balaclavas, long sleeves and gloves, the O’s lost 3-1 to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
There was some question as to whether this game would even be played on account of the frigid temperatures and expected precipitation in Boston on Sunday afternoon. Well, the two teams did play all nine innings, but only the Red Sox really showed up.
It seemed as though the O’s came ready to compete in the opening frame. A Trey Mancini single and Manny Machado double put the away team up 1-0 before you knew it. Unfortunately, that would be the extent of the Baltimore offense for the day.
The frustrating part of the lineup’s performance was that they did well to push Boston starter Chris Sale out of the game after just five innings. It wasn’t because the O’s were hitting well. They weren’t. But they forced Sale to work hard for his outs. Chris Davis and Craig Gentry both had nine-pitch at-bats, and a number of other hitters were putting together five, six or seven-pitch plate appearances. Sale’s pitch count climbed quickly despite allowing just four base runners.
Unfortunately, the Birds did even less against the Boston relief staff. Heath Hembree delivered two scoreless innings. Matt Barnes added a zero in the eighth. And Craig Kimbrel closed the door in the ninth. Talk about anti-climactic.
It was another day of bad luck for Dylan Bundy. Not only did his hitters give him no run support, but they also booted the ball around behind him.
Bundy cruised through the first four innings unscathed despite allowing four baserunners. Boston scored their first run in the fifth inning when Tzu-Wei Lin reached base on a “single” that was lined at Tim Beckham. The Orioles second baseman attempted to back-hand the hot shot, and it didn’t go well. He could have done better. Lin would eventually get out at second base on a fielder’s choice from Jackie Bradley Jr. However, Bradley did come around to score moments later on an Andrew Benintendi triple to right field.
The Red Sox went ahead in the following inning thanks to a rally started by an error. Danny Valencia mishandled a routine groundball, allowing J.D. Martinez to reach base. A Mitch Moreland double put runners on first and second with no outs.
Bundy nearly worked his way out it. He struck out Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez. A wild pitch during the Devers at-bat did score Martinez from third. After that, Brock Holt was all that stood between Bundy and safety. The O’s pitcher went ahead 0-2 in the count and then got Holt to hit a weak bouncer just to the left of the pitcher’s mound. It was out of Bundy’s reach but Valencia had a play on it. In year’s past, with Machado at the hot corner, these plays were commonplace. Danny Valencia is no Manny Machado. He bounced the throw and Davis was unable to pick it out of the dirt at first base.
Moreland moved to third. Holt was safe at first. Lin, the next batter, doubled to drive in Moreland and put an end to yet another solid Bundy start that would not be rewarded with the win that he likely deserved. Over 5.2 innings, Bundy allowed three runs (one earned) on two walks, seven hits and six strikeouts. His ERA now sits at 1.40 and he has a record of 0-2.
Richard Bleier had a very Richard Bleier type of outing. He tossed the final 2.1 innings and allowed no runs on three hits and two strikeouts. Boston nearly added to their lead in the seventh inning, but Mancini threw out Benintendi at the plate on a single from Moreland. Caleb Joseph’s tag just snagged Benintendi in time. Replay upheld the call, but it was a close one.
Gentry was probably the best part of the offense as he got on base three times (one hit, two walks). Davis and Anthony Santander both went hitless with three strikeouts. Mancini, Gentry and Machado had the O’s only three hits of the game, two of which came in the first inning.
Valencia had a horrific sixth inning with the glove. Can he really he trusted out there again? Engelb Vielma is available on the bench. He’s not much of a hitter but he knows how to handle the leather. If the lineup isn’t going to score runs anyway, they may as well defend to the best of their ability.
These two teams are supposed to wrap up a four-game set on Monday at 11:05 a.m. ET for Patriot’s Day. However, there is talk that the weather is supposed to get even worse in New England. Brian Johnson (1-0, 2.70 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Red Sox, but he was seen warming in the bullpen during the eighth inning today. Perhaps that is a hint that this series is already over? If it happens, Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50 ERA) will take the mound for the O’s.