Bruce Zimmermann had allowed seven home runs in his previous three games before today. The Red Sox, primed to pounce at Fenway Park, made sure the trend continued. Boston took the Baltimore native for five home runs in just four innings and easily defeated the Orioles 12-2.
There are different types of control issues. Some lead to walks, while others result in the baseball smack dab in the middle of the plate. Zimmermann dealt with the latter today and the Red Sox rarely missed.
Bobby Dalbec got the party started on a 3-2 changeup that sped up the bat in just the right way. Dalbec’s shot cleared the green monster and scored Christian Vazquez for a two-run lead. Franchy Cordero followed with a solo home run that traveled a projected 448 feet. The missile conveyed the message that Zimmermann did not have his best stuff today.
Rafael Devers worked in a solo homer in the third and Boston added two more in the fourth. Christian Arroyo and Enrique Hernandez both went deep and the Orioles finally got the bullpen going.
The Orioles turned to Cody Sedlock to replace Zimmermann. The 26-year-old’s major league debut represented the most intriguing portion of the game but it was not without its warts. Sedlock needed 71 pitches to complete three innings.
Sedlock allowed an RBI-double in the fifth before keeping Boston off the board in the sixth and seventh innings. The Orioles tasked their 2016 first-round pick with working into the eighth inning and the wheels fell off.
The Red Sox batted around in the eighth and chased Sedlock before he record an out. Marcos Diplán replaced Sedlock but failed to tame the hot Boston lineup. The Red Sox scored five times to cap their total at 12 runs. Sedlock’s final line read 3+ IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 1 BB.
The Orioles lineup was never going to compete with Boston today, but they never really tried. Baltimore managed a run in the fifth inning and they needed a little help just for that. Mancini drove a ball that deflected off right fielder Christian Arroyo before falling to the ground. The play was ruled a single and scored Cedric Mullins. Mancini finished 3-for-3 and also walked once.
The Orioles added a run in the top of the ninth against wild reliever Phillips Valdez. Rutschman worked a lead off walk and came around to score after Chris Owings reached on an error. Rutschman went hitless but took two walks on the day.
The game was not fun to watch and represented a drastic turn from some of the dramatic victories the Orioles have had in the last two weeks. The reality is that good teams have games like this, bad teams have games like this, and the Orioles had a game like this today.
The big picture will focus on whether Zimmermann can keep the ball in the ballpark moving forward. The lefty has a fastball in the low 90’s and needs quality control to have success in the AL East. He did not have it today.
Sedlock has done little to generate excitement since he entered the organization. The narrative would be different if the Orioles did not ask him to pitch the eighth, but they did. Baltimore could option Sedlock immediately or keep him around for more long relief. Dean Kremer tossed four innings of one-hit ball today at Norfolk and should be a candidate to start or work out of the bullpen next week.
The Orioles will still have an opportunity to take the series tomorrow night. Tyler Wells will take the mound against Rich Hill. The high-leverage relievers will be available.