The Orioles and Red Sox battled today in a game that was a pitchers’ duel until the Red Sox broke it open in the eighth inning. John Means and David Price battled, with Price having the better day. A Xander Bogaerts three-run dinger in the eighth dashed the hopes for a comeback and the Orioles lost with a final score of 4-0. It is their first time being shutout this season.
Strong Day for Means
John Means made his second start of the season and this one went much better than the first. Means made it through five innings and in another situation, when he had been pitching in the rotation longer, I bet he could have gone six. But Means started the year in the bullpen and the 82 pitches he threw today were a season high.
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Means got into trouble but worked out of it with a little help from the Red Sox. Means hit J.D. Martinez and then gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts. Martinez went to third on the hit and should have come home on the long fly ball to right field hit by Dustin Pedroia. But for some reason, Martinez didn’t tag up! The Orioles appreciated that, I’m sure. Means followed that with a double play ball from Eduardo Núñez to get out of the inning.
Means wasn’t so lucky in the fourth inning. A single from Steve Pearce and a double from J.D. Martinez put runners on second and third with no outs. This time they didn’t blow the sac fly as Pearce scored easily on a fly ball out from Bogaerts. The Red Sox blundered after that when Martinez broke for home on a ground ball back to the pitcher. He was thrown out in a rundown and Means was able to get out of the inning with just the one run allowed.
It looked like Means was losing steam in the fourth inning, but he came back strong in the fifth, pitching a quick 1-2-3 inning. His final pitching line was 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K. The outing lowered his ERA down to 1.98.
The HR Streak Lives On
The Orioles almost made it. They almost got through the game without allowing a home run. Coming into today, the Orioles pitching staff had allowed 39 home runs, at least one in every single game. I thought this game might be the end of that.
And it would have been the perfect time, as the all-time record was 16 straight games to start the season, set by the 2009 Phillies. Today was the Orioles 16th game. That means that with a home run allowed today they tied this weird and arbitrary record.
Evan Phillips came into the game in the sixth inning to replace Means. He hit the first batter he saw, but was strong after that. Things got dicey when Richie Martin made a throwing error on what should have been the third out. That put runners on second and third but Evans struck out E. Núñez to end the inning.
Paul Fry followed Phillips and retired the first three batters he faced. He was pulled in favor of Josh Lucas after giving up a lead off single. In retrospect, maybe Fry should have stayed in the game because Lucas did not have a great time. He struck out Pearce but then gave up a single to J.D. Martinez to set the table for Bogaerts. Bogaerts put the game out of reach with a long home run to center field. With that the Orioles were trailing 4-0 and the home run streak lives on.
Where’s the offense?
Like several of his teammates, Red Sox starting pitcher David Price has gotten off to a rough start this season. In each of his first two starts he gave up four runs in six innings pitched. Those aren’t disasters, but also not what you expect to see from Price. Today he looked much more like the pitcher the Red Sox are paying all that money for.
Through the first three innings, the Orioles had just one hitter reach base. Renato Núñez singled to kick off the second inning but was stranded. Stranding lead off base runners was kind of the theme to the day. Richie Martin and Trey Mancini started the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, with doubles. Both were stranded. Joey Rickard also reached base on an error to start the inning in the fourth, but he got himself out trying to steal third base for some reason. And Mancini reached again with no outs in the ninth on a walk. Spoiler: he didn’t score.
Price was out of the game after seven innings, and relief pitcher Ryan Brasier made it interesting by allowing hits to Rio Ruiz and Jonathan Villar that put runners on first and third with two outs. Pinch hitter Dwight Smith gave the ball a ride, but it was caught by Betts in deep center field.
Matt Barnes got into some trouble in the ninth as a walk by Mancini and a single from Hanser Alberto put two runners on with one out. But the Orioles couldn’t knock in either and the day ended with Chris Davis being called out on strikes. In fairness, strike three was about a foot above the strike zone. The catcher had to stand up to get it. So we’ll give Davis half credit on that one. Regardless, the game was over.
One day after bringing all of baseball some joy with his three-hit game, Chris Davis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. It seemed odd to give Davis the start against a lefty when he had been sitting against them previously. Perhaps sitting against tough lefties is exactly what he should be doing.
The Orioles will look to get out of Boston tomorrow with a series split. The game starts at the ungodly time of 11 a.m. due to it being Patriots Day (AKA a holiday no one outside of two states cares about). Dan Straily will take the ball for the Orioles, making his second start for the team. The Red Sox starter will be Hector Velázquez. Sleep fast!