Some familiar themes were at play Wednesday night at Camden Yards when the Red Sox met the Orioles for the middle game of a three game series – the mediocrity of Rick Porcello and the lack of production from Boston’s offense. After the momentum gained from the weekend sweep over the lowly Oakland A’s, the Red Sox struggled to put runs on the board despite a masterful performance from starter Eduardo Rodriguez on Tuesday night and lost 1-0. Another losing streak has officially begun for Boston after they couldn’t get back on track on Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to Baltimore.
Red Sox fans got their hopes up early on when Porcello struck out the side in the first inning, however that hope would be destroyed in the second inning. First baseman Chris Davis got cute by leading off the inning with a bunt single. After getting thrown out on a fielder’s choice, RF Delmon Young would score on a J.J. Hardy double with two outs on the board. 2B Ryan Flaherty would single to drive in Hardy to give the O’s a 2-0 lead.
Despite ending the second inning with another strikeout, Porcello’s struggles would continue in the third with Manny Machado leading off with a double. Machado would get to third when DH Jimmy Paredes grounded out, and he would eventually score another run on an Adam Jones infield single. Porcello would get through the fourth and fifth unscathed after giving up a single in each, but he allowed three straight singles to kick off the sixth inning with LF Travis Snider getting an RBI. Hardy would pick up another RBI on a sacrifice fly and that would end the night Porcello – 5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO and 0 HR.
The Sox offense squandered opportunities early on – what else is new? Hanley singled in the first inning, but nothing came of it. Then, amazingly, Bogaerts singled in the second inning but was thrown out trying to extend it to a double and Pablo Sandoval followed that up doing the same. They were able to muster up a run in the third inning when Dustin Pedroia singled and was driven in with a double from Brock Holt. Those two would contribute later when Pedroia doubled to lead off the sixth inning, Holt singled and Mike Napoli drove in Pedey on a fielder’s choice.
Unfortunately, that would be all the Sox could contribute at the plate on Wednesday night. The seventh, eighth and ninth would go like this – ground out, fly out, ground out, ground out, strike out, ground out (to the catcher), strike out, strike out, strike out. That is insanely anemic even for the Red Sox offense. Darren O’Day was very impressive in the ninth totally baffling Ramirez, Napoli and Bogaerts to strike out the side and pick up his second save of the season. O’Day now has a 1.17 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 0.78 WHIP in 23 innings this season.
The Red Sox will look to avoid the sweep Thursday night in Baltimore when Wade Miley (5-5, 4.67), winner of four of his last five starts, takes the mound against right-hander Chris Tillman (3-7, 5.61). The Red Sox are officially at the bottom of the AL East and will seriously need a victory. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.
* David Ortiz was given the night off by skipper John Farrell with left-hander We-Yin Chen pitching for the Orioles. Despite some success against Chen in his career, Farrell decided to sit him and it’s tough to argue with the move – Ortiz is currently batting .114 against lefties and has a .111 OBP with no walks and no homeruns! Hanley Ramirez was the designated hitter instead with Brock Holt getting the start in left field.
* Pedroia and Holt were the only major contributors on offense for the Red Sox and are currently the only players with a batting average over .300 on the team. They each had two hits on Wednesday night. Hanley, Bogaerts and Sandoval were the only other batters to each get a hit.
* Tommy Layne looked impressive yet again getting two big strikeouts to end the sixth inning when Porcello had reached the end of his rope and left a man on base after allowing two runs in the inning. Alexi Ogando finished out the game for Boston pitching two scoreless innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
* According to WEEI’s John Tomase, the Red Sox are now 10-17 against the AL East and the only team with a losing record in the division.
Porcello fell to 4-6 on the season and just didn’t have enough to get the Red Sox back on track Wednesday night. After striking out the side in the first inning, he struggled to get consistent outs and was hit hard in the second, third and sixth innings. He didn’t walk anyone as he continues to pitch to contact, but the Red Sox defense didn’t help him out much either. Porcello looks to be an average starter who probably didn’t deserve the extension that was given to him earlier this year. With Rodriguez beginning to cement himself as the top starter in Boston, Buchholz or Porcello is going to have to step up if this staff is going to hold up.
Layne has become a go-to guy as of late for John Farrell out of the bullpen. He has full command of his fastball and is giving lefty batters huge issues at the plate. His appearance on Wednesday kept the Red Sox in the game at the time when he struck out two batters in the sixth.
Another rough night for the Sox offense, and another night where Dustin Pedroia is one of the only major contributors. Pedroia went 2-4 with 2 runs scored and, along with Brock Holt, provided the only significant offense. His average is now a team-leading .312.
More from BoSox Injection
- Red Sox invited group of players you’ve probably never heard of to Spring Training
- Jeter Downs’ official departure will continue to haunt Red Sox
- Aaron Judge’s Yankees return a brutal reminder of what could have been for Red Sox
- Red Sox should capitalize on Yankees’ latest roster move
- Red Sox ownership’s latest reported venture could be what’s affected team spending