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Acceptable Losses: Red Sox Fall To Orioles; Why That's Not So Bad

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The Red Sox will not be sweeping the Orioles. We know this much now, thanks to a 4-1 loss in the first game at the hands of Zach Britton and sacrifice fly after sacrifice fly.

The good news for the Sox is that if there was a game they were going to lose in the series, it was definitely this one. The young Zach Britton is in every way an up-and-coming star, and Clay Buchholz has not done particularly well to start the year.

In fact, in some ways, this loss is a little bit of a feel-good loss, if there is such a thing these days. Despite the four runs, we saw one of Clay Buchholz' best starts of the year-if not his best period. The Orioles picked up a ton of hits off of him, yes, but it wasn't just a matter of misplaced pitches. Credit where credit is due: Baltimore put some perfect swings on some good pitches, golfing a few out for weak hits and just generally making Clay pay even when he didn't necessarily do anything wrong.

With three of their four runs scoring on sacrifice flies, and another coming in on a ground ball that bounced off of the first base bag, there wasn't really any point where Buchholz was really beaten up. And with his five strikeouts and one (unintentional) walk at the end of the game, Clay's peripherals bumped up in a way we hadn't seen so far this year, even if some opportunistic hitting managed to push across four runs on him.

You certainly could question the offense. As per usual, there was a lack of clutch hitting. But when it comes right down to it, tonight was just a really good pitcher on his game, and getting a little lucky to avoid real damage once the Sox started figuring him out some.

It hurts to miss our first chance at .500 since the first days of April, but all we need now is for the real aces of the staff to step up, and the Sox can still go home with an even record.