Yikes. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this one. The Red Sox were looking for a strong performance from Rick Porcello after they got a rare bad one from Chris Sale on Thursday. Instead, the 2016 Cy Young winner was hit hard all night long by the Orioles lineup. It wasn’t just him, either, as the defense was atrocious from everyone, particularly throwing the baseball. Even the offense didn’t get the job done, though that’ll be overshadowed by the performance on the other side of the ball.
It was pretty clear from the jump that it was going to be a long night for Porcello. The Red Sox righty was off on his command, and as we all know he can’t succeed if he’s not locating pitches. Everything was missing the target, and it led to a whole lot of hitters’ counts and line drives. After a quick first out in the game, he allowed back-to-back singles — neither of which were cheapies — to put two on with one out. Here, we saw the beginning of the bad defense. Porcello stopped a comebacker but rushed the play after picking the ball up, trying to make the play at second base. Instead, he threw it way off the bag towards the shortstop side and it wound up in the outfield for a run and the first of many errors for the Red Sox defense.
Things were all downhill from there. I won’t go through the entirety of Baltimore’s scoring because I value my time at least a little bit, but I will tell you that it was ugly. They’d end up with one more run in the first before putting up three more in the second. That second inning included two more throwing errors — one from Rafael Devers and one from Sandy Leon on a stolen base attempt — along with a wild pitch. After Baltimore scored one more in the third, Porcello finally had a clean inning in the fourth. He’d come back out for the fifth, and the game was officially put out of reach.
Porcello would end up leaving in the middle of the fifth with the Red Sox already down 9-2. When all was said and done, the righty ended up allowing 11 runs in 4 1⁄3 innings, though only four of them were earned. I kind of have a hard time deciding how much of that is fair, because he certainly didn’t pitch well and less hard contact would have led to a much closer game. On the other hand, the defense was horrendous for much of the time Porcello was in and definitely extended some innings. Everyone was bad, to put it simply.
In the bullpen, Joe Kelly was put in first following Porcello for some reason. It seemed like a spot for either Heath Hembree or Fernando Abad, but John Farrell called upon Kelly. It did not go well, as the righty allowed two runs (plus two inherited runs charged to Porcello) on four hits while recording just one out in that first inning of work. He stayed out for the sixth and tossed a scoreless inning that included two baserunners and three strikeouts. The seventh belonged to Blaine Boyer, and the recently-returned righty allowed three runs on four hits in the inning. Robby Scott came out for the eighth and set Baltimore down for a 1-2-3 inning.
This game got bad enough that the Red Sox called upon Mitch Moreland for the ninth inning. The Red Sox first baseman actually looked pretty solid out there, hitting 90 mph and featuring a breaking ball. Unsurprisingly, he has some experience on the mound from college. Moreland allowed a couple of hits but got out of the frame without allowing a run.
As I said at the top, the offense’s performance will be overshadowed by how they played on the other side of the ball. Going up against Jeremy Hellickson, it seemed like a chance for the Red Sox offense to put up a big number on the scoreboard. Instead, the Orioles righty had slightly better command than usual. Hellickson deserves some credit for being better than I (and most) expected, but he still looked plenty hittable and the Red Sox were merely okay against Baltimore’s starter.
After a quick first inning, the Red Sox looked like they were ready to do some damage in the second and make this a competitive game. Mitch Moreland started things off by reaching on an error, and then Xander Bogaerts launched a two-run home run out to left field on a fastball in and off the plate. At that point, the Red Sox were within three in a 5-2 game. With nobody out in the inning, it looked like a rally could get going. Instead, the next three batters were retired and the Red Sox wouldn’t score again until the game was well out of hand.
One other note from this game: Eduardo Nuñez was forced to leave in the second inning of this game. Leon’s aforementioned throwing error pulled Nuñez into a sliding Manny Machado and caused an awkward fall. He left with a wrist injury, but it is being called a day-to-day ailment after tests.
Everything about this game was bad, and just like Thursday there’s not much you can do but move on and look for a better performance in the next game. As I type this, the Yankees are tied at one with the Mariners, so it’s unclear if this brutal loss will result in a loss of ground in the division.