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Red Sox 4, Orioles 8: Back to the drawing board

The Red Sox seemed to be on the upswing. Then John Lackey was crushed.

Jim Rogash

On Thursday night, the Red Sox earned a hard-fought win against the Chicago White Sox, overcoming a fantastic performance from Chris Sale with a ninth inning rally. It was a well-played game of baseball. Things were moving in the right direction.

On Friday night, they went right back to getting crushed, falling 8-4 to the Orioles.

This game was arguably over the second John Lackey took the mound. Concerning news given how his previous start in New York went. The first pitch of the game went for a (replay contested) double to left, and the Orioles never looked back. An Adam Jones single turned that double into the first run of the game, and after the Red Sox left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second--Brock Holt striking out and Grady Sizemore hitting a fly ball to center--the Orioles really got to work in the third, scoring three times on four hits and a walk.

The Red Sox would manage to get one run back when Brock Holt singled home Mike Carp in the fourth, but any small hope was quickly extinguished when Lackey just couldn't get that last out in the fifth, walking Nelson Cruz with two outs, then allowing a pair of base hits to put the Red Sox in a 6-1 hole.

There was still some fight left in the Red Sox--they actually managed to get those two runs back in the bottom of the inning, and traded another run in the seventh. But after missing their opportunity in the second, they never again proved the same sort of threat against Chris Tillman.

It seems like Red Sox losses come in two flavors today. Utter incompetence from the position players in offense or defense, or pitching meltdowns. Friday's loss was of the latter variety, with Lackey offering up free passes and hard contact alike. After two impressive starts to open the season, he's now been crushed for twelve runs in his last two, allowing 20 hits in the process.

It there's good news to be had here, it's that the Red Sox did get a hit from every batter. The offense was at least present, if not the least bit opportunistic, as has been their problem in the past. But after the series win in Chicago ended on such a hopeful note, being brought abruptly down to Earth once more makes this a sour loss indeed.