The Orioles and Red Sox played game two of their three-game series tonight and the second game was a lot like the first. By that, I of course mean that the Orioles lost. Because the Orioles are the best losers I’ve ever seen. I hope to one day be as good at anything as the Orioles are at losing.
In a lot of games this year, the Orioles lost games in which they scored enough runs that if they just had some pitching, they would have won. That wasn’t the case tonight as they were shut out on just five hits. It’s the seventh time the Orioles have been shut out this season. They gave up two more home runs in the 4-0 loss.
But hey, at least we got to see the debut of Hunter Harvey! More on that below.
A Fifth Inning to Forget
Starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski dominated the Red Sox back in July at Camden Yards, but couldn’t put on a repeat performance tonight. He got through the first four innings without allowing a run, but a laborious first two innings ran his pitch count high.
The Orioles and Red Sox went into the bottom of the fifth inning in a scoreless tie, but it was there that things fell apart for Wojciechowski.
First up in the inning was Brock Holt, who came into the game with just one home run this season. It was, you guessed it, against the Orioles. Specifically it was hit off of Luis Ortiz in the only game Ortiz has appeared in this season, on June 14th.
Anyway, I think you know where this is going. Against Wojciechowski, Holt hit his second home run of the season. Anthony Santander made a futile leap for the ball, but it landed in the Red Sox bullpen to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Immediately after that, Jackie Bradley, Jr. tripled, then scored on a wild pitch. Things were unraveling for Wojciechowski in a hurry.
After Wojciechowski allowed two more baserunners while only getting one out, Brandon Hyde (and everyone else watching the game) had seen enough. Hyde called for Miguel Castro to replace Wojciechowski, which isn’t a move I endorsed at the time from my couch,
But I was wrong! Castro got a sweet inning-ending double play to limit the damage to just two runs. Wojciechowski’s final pitching line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K.
Flailing against a Former O’s Farmhand
Starting the game for the Red Sox is former O’s prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. He was traded away all the way back in 2014, but that doesn’t stop it from stinging just a bit when he pitches well against the Orioles. Tonight was one of those times.
The Orioles just could not get anything going against Rodriguez. Jonathan Villar singled in the second inning but was erased on an inning-ending double play. Richie Martin singled in the third inning but was stranded. Rodriguez walked two in the fourth but got out of the jam.
The O’s best chance came in the sixth inning when Trey Mancini led off the inning with a double, but he was thrown out at third trying to move up on a ground ball to shortstop. Come on, Trey!
Rodriguez pitched into the eighth inning, finally pulled out of the game after giving out a one-out single to Hanser Alberto. Matt Barnes replaced him and despite a defensive mistake by Rafael Devers, got out of the inning without giving up a run. Rodriguez’s final pitching line was 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
The Orioles Bullpen - Now Featuring Hunter Harvey!
After finishing the fifth inning, Castro followed up with a 1-2-3 sixth inning and looked very sharp. Unfortunately, his successor Paul Fry didn’t have the same, uh, success. Fry retired the first two batters before a Mookie Betts double set up a two-run homer by Devers, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.
The home run was the second of the night for the Red Sox and the 253rd home run of the season given up by the Orioles. They are now five dingers shy of tying the all-time record for home runs allowed in a season.
And then...it was Hunter Harvey time! It’s been a long road for the first-round draft pick from 2013 and he’s finally here. His first pitch was a 98 mph fastball, the highest he hit in his inning pitched was 100 (swoon). It wasn’t a perfect outing; Harvey walked a batter and threw 21 pitches, but he struck out the last two batters he faced and injected a little bit of hope into an otherwise dreary game.
Welcome to the big leagues, Hunter Harvey! I hope you stick around for a long time.
A Story Better than Baseball
Finally, something to just make you feel good after another Orioles loss. Henry Frasca, a young Red Sox fan who is also a thoroughly good human, wrote Chris Davis a letter in the midst of his massive 0-fer to start the season. I started to feel emotional when Gary Thorne asked Henry why he wrote the letter and Henry said, “When someone’s hurting, I don’t like it. So I decided to write the letter.”
Just watch it. You won’t regret it.
“You are incredible. Don’t give up; we’re rooting for you!”— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) August 17, 2019
A 9 year-old Red Sox fan was upset during Chris Davis' hitless streak so he wrote the first baseman a letter of support. pic.twitter.com/EEq2F0vJT1
Tomorrow the Orioles and Red Sox face off again as the O’s look to avoid the sweep. Game time is 1:05 PM. See you then!