Despite concerns with their rotation and a slow start by the bats, the Red Sox have gotten off to a relatively successful start to the season. Entering today, the team had won its first three series and had not dropped consecutive games this season, but that all changed as the Red Sox fell 8-3 today, losing their second straight game and missing the opportunity to win another series.
Things got off to a rocky start for the Red Sox and starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who entered today’s game 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. With one out and one runner on base in the first inning, Adam Jones pulverized a Porcello fastball over the Green Monster to give the Orioles an early 2-0 lead.
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The Red Sox were able to fight back from that early deficit, though, coming through with their only productive inning of the day in the bottom of the first. With Brock Holt and David Ortiz on base, Hanley Ramirez pounded a Miguel Gonzalez fastball off the Sports Authority sign above the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, their only such advantage of the day.
That lead would prove to be short-lived as Ryan Flaherty added another long ball to the homer barrage in the second inning to tie the game at 3-3. Though it wouldn’t be easy, Porcello kept the game tied for two more innings, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth to keep the game even.
However, it would be the fifth inning when the Orioles began to get the better of Porcello. Baltimore came through with a pair of runs in the fifth, scoring on an RBI single by Travis Snider and a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado. The sixth inning would really be when the Orioles blew the game apart, though.
Manager John Farrell made the questionable decision to leave Porcello out for a sixth inning and that judgement immediately came back to bite the Red Sox. Porcello hit Caleb Joseph to start the inning, then allowed back-to-back singles to Everth Cabrera and Jimmy Paredes. The big blow would, of course, come off the bat of Adam Jones, however. Jones drove a double off the monster in left-center, scoring all three runs, and giving himself five RBI’s on the day while putting the Orioles ahead by a score of 8-3.
Neither team’s bullpens blinked from then on, with Craig Breslow and Edward Mujica holding the Orioles’ lead while Tommy Hunter and Kevin Gausman shut the door for Baltimore. The Red Sox add another disappointing loss to the ledger, as the team’s performance continues to raise questions about not only the rotation, but also the lineup, which has been unproductive in recent days. Still, the Red Sox will look to bounce back tomorrow at 11:05 AM, as the team sends Justin Masterson (1-1, 7.59 ERA) to the mound versus Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 4.35 ERA).
- Rick Porcello simply did not look good today. He appeared to have trouble commanding his fastball and sinker, leaving a number of pitches up in the zone to be crushed. The lanky right-hander has now allowed five home runs in just three starts this season, a rather concerning trend for a pitcher who has never before had problems with the home run ball. We’ll hope that Porcello corrects this issue soon.
- Hanley Ramirez broke out of a little slump today, going 2-4 and demolishing a three-run homer. He has shown impressive power in the early going and looks to be a major addition to Boston’s lineup.
Porcello put together his worst start of the season today, looking ineffective all throughout his outing. He was hurt by hard contact all day long, surrendering a pair of home runs as well as a rocket double by Jones. Though he did strike out six batters in just five innings, that small positive pales in comparison to the hard contact and mediocre command (three walks) that Porcello exhibited today.
With three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Breslow saved the Red Sox from running through their relief corps. Breslow still has not allowed a run in 8.2 innings this season and is looking better than he ever did in a shaky 2014 season.
Though the Red Sox lineup was rough again today, it’s tough to ask for much more from Ramirez. Ramirez provided the Red Sox with all three of their runs today, coming on a three-run shot over the monster and added to his team-leading five home runs and twelve RBI’s.