The Red Sox fell to the Orioles 4-0 Monday night in a game completely devoid of silver linings.
Before the game began, it was the defensive outfield of Brock Holt, Grady Sizemore, and Daniel Nava behind Jake Peavy that seemed to promise misery. In the end, however, they were not the problem at all. Few of Jake Peavy's hits ended up dropping into the outfield, and no runs would end up scoring from bloops or line drives that simply evaded the outfielders' gloves.
Still, this game was very much a matter of death by fly balls, at least in terms of the runs the Red Sox allowed. That's because Jake Peavy took his defense completely out of the game by surrendering not one, not two, but three homers to the Orioles. Almost as though he were making up for the only two games this season in which he did not allow a long ball, Peavy got his number right up to 13 bombs in 13 starts.
I'm not sure what, exactly, is gained by going over each one, but here we go anyways. Adam Jones kicked it off in the bottom of the first, putting a bit of a loopy swing on a hanging slider and dropping it just over the wall in right-center. If the swing wasn't pretty, it didn't have to be--when you throw a slider that just floats in like that to a professional hitter who has any idea what a slider does, it may as well be on a tee.
Number two came in the fifth. With Ryan Flaherty already on base via a ground ball single, Nick Markakis picked on another lifeless off-speed pitch from Peavy, this one delivered conveniently into the left-handed hitter's wheelhouse. Markakis absolutely crushed it. A no-doubter which nearly left Camden Yards entirely.
Finally, in the seventh, Flaherty got one of his own, taking a middle-middle two-seamer into the stands right around where Jones hit his, but a fair bit deeper. Peavy didn't walk batters. He didn't give up a ton of hits. He didn't need to. There seem to be two modes to Peavy. He can either pitch outside the zone and die a slow death, or pitch inside of it and get crushed with short, violent bursts like tonight.
Still, that was just four runs, and had the offense done anything, Peavy might have at least kept the Red Sox close. But as we've already established, this was a game without silver linings. The offense was simply pathetic tonight, producing just three hits and six total baserunners as Bud Norris went eight innings without surrendering a run.
After the 10-game losing streak, the Red Sox rattled off seven straight wins to restore some hope. After the five-game losing streak, they managed only one. This is a team that's been playing .273 ball for nearly a month now, and before that had only managed .500 to begin with. It might be time to start talking in terms of 2015 rather than 2014.