Rick Porcello struggled and the Red Sox were a disaster on the basepaths Wednesday night in a game that reminded us of at least one thing: this team sure knows how to lose.
Let's skip right past the first inning, aberration that it was. The Red Sox lost this game in the second, not by digging a hole so deep they couldn't climb out of it, but simply by reinforcing their identity as baseball's most expensive three-ring circus. They did this by leading off the inning with back-to-back hits off Wei-Yin Chen from Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. They both rounded first and headed to second. And they were both thrown out.
Honestly, at this point, I struggle to continue. That was an inning tailor-made for the Red Sox to get out to an early lead, maybe even put up a crooked number on Chen. It would be one thing if Pablo Sandoval had simply grounded into a double play--he's certainly done it often enough before--but for both to get thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double? One after the other? The Red Sox are finding new, more impressive ways not to score with every day, and it's enough to drive a man insane.
And of course Rick Porcello immediately gave away two runs in the bottom half of the inning. It was a leadoff bunt from Chris Davis, taking a free hit off the shift which broke Porcello's streak of three straight strikeouts to start the game. And while he was able to get two ground ball outs, neither one went for two, allowing J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty to produce back-to-back hits on just three total pitches to give the Orioles a pair of runs.
Credit the Dustin Pedroia - Brock Holt combo at the top of the lineup. They produced a pair of two-out hits to get the Sox on the board in the top half of the third, though Porcello gave the run right back in the bottom half. And again, in the sixth, they brought the Red Sox within one, this time picking up their hits to lead off the inning. But Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts went down 1-2-3, giving the Sox just the one run (that only coming on a double play that would have been had the throw to first been clean), and once again Rick Porcello just gave the gift right back, surrendering three straight singles to start the bottom half of the sixth and letting the Orioles build their lead up to 5-2.
Those hits in the sixth proved the last baserunners of the day for the Red Sox. You could say they were broken when Porcello failed to hold the lead at one after Pedroia and Holt got them close. You could say they were broken when they ran into those two outs then immediately saw the Orioles score. Or you could just say they were broken, are broken, and have been broken for months now. That seems the most likely story.