The starting rotation and its lack of an ace was an omnipresent story throughout the offseason. Three weeks into the season, the criticism of Boston’s rotation is yet to die down and for good reason as the group has been, quite frankly, terrible. That trend unfortunately continued today as the pitching staff, between a terrible outing by Wade Miley and unimpressive bullpen work, posted its worst effort of the season, allowing a season-high 18 runs in a bona fide blowout.
Miley entered today just 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA, but had been solid in two of his three starts, and he coasted through a 1-2-3 first inning. The Orioles did pick up one run in the second inning, but that had more to due with a Mookie Betts miscue than with any poor performance on Miley’s part, as he did not allow a hit in the inning. The third inning, however, was when Miley’s luck would take a turn for the worse.
After cruising through the first two innings of the game on just 27 pitches, Miley lost all semblance of command in the third. He loaded the bases with one out before walking in a run to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. From then on, Miley allowed three consecutive hits, which would push Baltimore’s lead out to 6-0 before manager John Farrell reluctantly pulled Miley from the game after just 2.1 innings pitched, bringing Anthony Varvaro into the game.
Once Varvaro entered, the Orioles were able to pick up one more run in the inning (which was credited to Miley) and leave the third inning with a 7-0 lead. They picked up two more runs in the fourth, putting the game into full-on rout mode.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox bats were putting together a miserable performance against Baltimore right-hander Bud Norris, who had entered the game 0-2 with an unsightly 17.42 ERA. The Red Sox picked up only four hits through the first six innings and entered the seventh inning down 12-0.
The top of the seventh would be the only truly positive inning for the Red Sox, as Boston got a pair of base runners on singles by Sandy Leon and Dustin Pedroia. Then, with two outs in the inning, Pablo Sandoval lifted a high fly ball to right field for a three-run homer, his first in a Boston uniform. Hanley Ramirez followed Sandoval’s shot with one of his own, pouncing on the first pitch from Orioles’ reliever Jason Garcia and crushing it to left field, marking the second back-to-back home run pairing of the year for the Red Sox.
However, Boston’s offensive efforts were undone in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Orioles scored six runs off a combination of recently-promoted Heath Hembree and veteran lefty Craig Breslow. This would push Baltimore’s lead to an insurmountable 18-4.
The Red Sox weren’t quite finished yet as Ramirez gave them another lift in the ninth inning, crushing yet another home run– a three-run shot this time– off Garcia to cut the Orioles’ lead to 18-7. However, the Red Sox would prove unable to come back from a fourteen-run deficit and dropped the game 18-7, adding even more questions about the lack of depth in Boston’s pitching staff.
- In just 2.1 innings of work today, Miley walked 2 batters and has now allowed 11 free passes (versus only 10 strikeouts) in 15.2 innings pitched this season. Since joining the Red Sox, Miley has simply not looked good and his walk-strikeout trends don’t suggest that he is due for any dramatic improvement thus far.
- Hanley Ramirez continues to hammer the ball as his two home runs today push him to a tie for second place in all of baseball’s home run race with 8 long balls. He has been a bright spot in an unimpressive Red Sox lineup so far and has provided a huge boost throughout the first three weeks of the season.
- Pablo Sandoval knocked his first home run, hopefully the first of many, in a Red Sox uniform today, hitting third in the lineup with the absence of David Ortiz.
There’s no way around it. Miley was simply terrible today. Though he was solid through his first two innings of work, he totally imploded in the third inning, losing all command and allowing a plethora of hard contact. The Red Sox need Miley to improve as he figures to be a large part of their rotation for the next few seasons.
An easy choice for today’s game ball among relievers, Mujica was the only pitcher that did not allow a run today. Still, he wasn’t terrible impressive as he allowed a hit and did not strike out any batters in a scoreless eighth inning.
Ramirez continues his torrid start to the season with another strong performance today. In five at bats, Ramirez homered twice and drove in four runs and remains one of few Red Sox hitters really driving the ball right now.