Mar 9, 2012; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan (52) pitches during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at JetBlue Park. The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox Stymied By Orioles' Top Prospects In 5-2 Loss


Last night seemed like an ordinary game on the surface; just your average 5-2 loss, a close game early but the back end of the bullpen blew it apart. If one looks deeper into the box score, however, one will see that pitching against the Red Sox were the Orioles’ top two prospects and two of the top in all of baseball. Dylan Bundy, Baseball America’s #2 prospect in baseball, started against the Red Sox and allowed an unearned run in two innings. On the other side of the field, Felix Doubront had quite the roller-coaster outing for the Red Sox.

Doubront gave up a double on the first pitch of the game and then allowed a single on the next one to put the O’s up 1-0 after just two pitches. To those early batters, he was leaving his fastball up without a ton of command. However, he recovered from that and with the help of a few nice changeups, he got out of the inning mostly unscathed. Doubront put together a marvelous second inning, recording two strikeouts and an easy flyout. However, he struggled again in the third inning as he allowed a leadoff walk, struck out a batter, and then allowed back-to-back hits. He got out of it with just one run in the inning somehow, and finished his outing strong– recording his fifth strikeout in three innngs, in which the batters all looked very fooled on the pitch.

Perhaps motivated by Doubront’s strong second inning, the Red Sox had gotten going a little in the bottom of the second. Will Middlebrooks walked with one out, and with two outs, Mitch Maier laced a beautiful hit down the first baseline and due to some shoddy fielding by right fielder Conor Jackson, Maier got to third and Middlebrooks scored. All of this was off Bundy, who the Red Sox managed to reach base on quite a bit, showing that the #2 prospect may need some more time in the minors.

Beyond the top prospect matter, there was another reason why this game was special and that is the fact that the back end of the bullpen looked great. Joel Hanrahan looked like the Joel Hanrahan we’ve been waiting for, as he perfectly mixed his mid 90′s fastball with a nasty slider to strike out two in a perfect inning. Andrew Bailey also looked pretty good, as although he allowed two hits in his inning, he also had his fastball-slider combination working and even mixed in a stellar curve every now and then.

However, after the fifth inning, the game wasn’t much to write home about. There were few offensive highlights, as the Sox only picked up seven in the contest, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-3, including one from the right side), Bradley Jr. (1-3, 1 walk), and Will Middlebrooks (1-2, 1 run, 1 walk) were a few. The Orioles blew the game open in the ninth by scoring three off Terry Doyle, who wasn’t going to make the team anyway. The Red Sox picked up one more run in the ninth on a groundout by Mauro Gomez to get it to a 5-2 loss.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Felix Doubront Joel Hanrahan