Red Sox fall 4-1 despite strong pitching


The story from beginning to end of today’s game was Clay Buchholz. The enigmatic right-hander spun a gem on Opening Day only to undergo a shellacking at the hands of the Yankees last Sunday night and entered today’s game looking to return to his form in the season opener.But while he didn’t quite reach the high bar that he had set with seven shutout innings in Philadelphia, Buchholz did find a happy middle ground today against the Orioles.

It wasn’t easy for Buchholz, as he allowed eleven hits and walked a batter, but he was able to escape from jams and exited the game after allowing only a pair of runs in six solid innings. And though it wasn’t an elite outing from Buchholz, there were certainly positives. Those would include the sharpness of Buchholz’s breaking ball and change, two top-notch pitches when Buchholz is right, as well as his composure during crucial situations. Buchholz stranded the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth innings, punching out a pair of batters to end the fourth and inducing a key double play with no outs and the bases juiced in the fifth.

More from David Ortiz

The other, less sanguine story of today’s game was the ineffectiveness of Boston’s bats with runners in scoring position. A lack of success against Orioles’ ace Chris Tillman is nothing new as the 27-year old righty now owns a career 2.63 ERA against the Red Sox. However, a performance of today’s ilk is simply unacceptable with such a formidable lineup.

The Red Sox stranded thirteen base runners today, including four in scoring position, and were only able to push one run across the plate (a run which, frankly, shouldn’t have even scored as it came on an error by Tillman). Not counting three-hit games by Brock Holt and David Ortiz, the remaining seven members of Boston’s batting order combined for just one hit (a single by Mike Napoli).

There have been just two games into this series with the Orioles, but the Red Sox bats have not looked like themselves thus far. This is an alarming trend for a team that has the potential to dominate offensively, but the Red Sox should be able to correct their mistakes. Boston will look to grab a win and take a 2-1 advantage of this four-game series tomorrow afternoon, sending Rick Porcello (1-1, 3.86 ERA) to the mound to face Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 1.42 ERA).

Game Notes:

  • Though Clay Buchholz escaped the game after allowing only two runs, it wasn’t all pretty for the 30-year old. Buchholz cruised through the first three innings, tossing just 34 pitches with four punch outs. However, he had to escape from bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth inning and his results could have been significantly worse than they were. It wasn’t a terrible game and it was a solid bounce back from Sunday night’s debacle, but Buchholz isn’t out of the woods yet.
  • David Ortiz appears to be emerging from his early-season slump, turning in a great game today. Though he was thrown out trying for a double in the first inning, he went 3-3 with a double, run, and a walk, raising his batting average to .237 in the process.
  • Brock Holt continued his own hot start to the season, going 3-4 and stealing a base. Now hitting .579 on the season, he’ll obviously slow down, but his versatility is an asset on its own and any addition offense is just gravy.

. Game Ball. Clay Buchholz. STARTING PITCHING . B-

This game could have easily gotten away from Buchholz, but to his credit, he didn’t let a striking number of base runners bother him on the mound. Buchholz turned in a quality start, but he’ll look to be more efficient in his next time around.

B+. . Game Ball. . RELIEF PITCHING

Ogando wasn’t too efficient in his one inning of work today, throwing 19 pitches to only three batters, but he didn’t allow any base runners and struck out a batter during the seventh inning.

. Game Ball. David Ortiz. OFFENSE . A-

Big Papi didn’t have any big hits today (aside from a leadoff double in the sixth), but he reached base in all four of his at bats. He is finally starting to put together some good at bats and, before long, the Red Sox could have Ortiz at full force, an intimidating sight even at age 39.