Drew Pomeranz had a bad night, the Red Sox offense was once again relatively quiet after a blowout, and as you might imagine putting two-and-two together, the Sox fell to the Orioles, 6-3.
There’s not really all that much to be said about this one. Pomeranz came into the day averaging just over six innings and just under two earned runs per start over his last seven games. But today, he most certainly didn’t have it. Lacking location and facing a tight zone to boot, Pomeranz was hammered in the second inning, surrendering two walks, a single, and ultimately, loud homers to both J.J. Hardy and Nolan Reimold, good for five runs. The Sox tried to get more out of him, but after seeing Pomeranz surrender a leadoff single to Manny Machado in the third, decided enough was enough.
As much as that suggested a blowout was in store, the Sox actually managed to make this one a game. Or, rather, Dylan Bundy made it one himself. Struggling with the same small zone that had given Pomeranz difficulties, Bundy loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the second, then walked in two straight runs, bringing Xander Bogaerts to the plate with one down.
The next two at-bats, however, would prove the decisive failures of the game for the Red Sox, at least on offense. Bundy kept going low-and-in to Xander, and Bogaerts couldn’t cope, striking out. David Ortiz immediately grounded out behind him, and the Sox left all three tying runs on base. Frustratingly enough, when Bogaerts next came up to bat, he was good for a leadoff solo shot in the fifth. It got them within two, but if he’d produced that earlier, this might be a very different story.
Instead, it’s largely one of futility. Even against a struggling Orioles bullpen, the Sox couldn’t produce much of anything at the plate from there. They got a couple of hits in the eighth, bringing Sandy Leon into the game as a pinch-hitter with a chance to make things awfully close, but Zach Britton was up to the task, getting a ground ball to short and ending the last threat the Sox would produce.
If there’s one other thing to mention here, aside from the fact that the Red Sox bullpen did solid work keeping things close for so long, it’s that the second-to-last man out of the pen, taking on four outs between the eighth and ninth, was Noe Ramirez. This just shouldn’t happen in any game that’s still in contention. The Red Sox have some unproven and seriously questionable options in the likes of Fernando Abad, Junichi Tazawa, and Robby Scott. All three are better than Noe Ramirez. He’s just...not a viable major league pitcher. The Sox kept going back to him early in the year as the first man up from Pawtucket and paid for it. Now they’re doing it in two-run games against division rivals. He would end up surrendering a homer in the ninth to make it 6-3, but even if he hadn’t, it would’ve been a mistake to trust him with any remotely important outs.
All told, it’s a loss, and frustrating to see the Sox go quiet again immediately after such a big offensive explosion. But as with the game two loss to the Blue Jays over the weekend, it’s certainly one the Sox can bear if they manage to come back and win the series tomorrow behind Rick Porcello. Sweeps are great, but 2-of-3 over and over should also be enough.