The Red Sox lost. Jhoulys Chacín was bad, the offense sputtered after a hot start then wasted chances late. It was not fun, and that’s all I have to say on the matter.
As the Red Sox season comes to a close and after a loss on Friday, they were looking for a win to ensure they didn’t end their disappointing campaign with a disappointing loss against the second-worst team in baseball. Meanwhile, individually speaking Jhoulys Chacín was looking to end his 2019 on a high note as he goes into free agency in a vey precarious position this winter. Things did not go smoothly right away on either fronts.
If there was any team Chacín could have ended his season with, the Orioles would be quite close to the top of the list. This is a team where, as long as you make your pitches, you should be able to do fine. The veteran righty didn’t make his pitches.
Baltimore came out firing on Saturday afternoon at Fenway, wasting literally no time to get their rally started. Jonathan Villar took the first pitch he saw and doubled out to right field. That brought DJ Stewart to the dish, and he took the third pitch he saw and smashed the fastball down in the zone out to right field. This one kept going up and over the fence. Just like that, four pitches into the day and the Orioles had a 2-0 lead. Chacín did get a strikeout after that, but Baltimore would get two more on before the inning finally ended.
So, now the Red Sox came to the plate already trailing and looking to pick up their pitcher after they disappointed at the dish on Friday. They did just that, fortunately, starting with Jackie Bradley Jr. in the leadoff spot. The center fielder kicked things off with a base hit out to right field. A couple batters later, Xander Bogaerts was up doing Xander Bogaerts things. By that I mean he got a changeup down the heart of the plate and hit it over everything in left field. Just like that, with one swing of the bat this game was all tied up at two. J.D. Martinez was up next and he decided he liked the way it looked. He didn’t quite hit it out of Fenway but his ball went into the Monster seats to make it back-to-back jacks. The Red Sox now had a 3-2 lead after one.
The bad news is the Orioles had an answer here as well. Chacín was still in the game to start the second, and while he’d only need to face four batters to get through the inning the one who didn’t get out did damage. That would be Richie Martin, and the infielder smoked a middle-in fastball out into the Monster Seats himself to tie this one right back up at three. In the next inning, it was Renato Núñez hitting a two-out, solo homer out to left field to give the Orioles their lead back.
On the other side, after the Red Sox jumped out with the bats in the bottom of the first Orioles rookie John Means settled down in a big way. The lefty has been very good all year and the Red Sox had struggled against him in each of their previous four meetings. It looked like that trend would break here, but Means had other ideas. Following the Martinez homers, the southpaw didn’t allow another hit through the three innings. He did walk a couple of guys, but neither of the runners was able to advance beyond first base. Then, in the bottom of the fifth they finally broke through with back-to-back two-out singles, but Martinez couldn’t come through again.
So, as they headed into the top of the sixth it was still a 4-3 lead for the Orioles with Andrew Cashner coming on as the Red Sox’ fifth pitcher of the day. Bobby Poyner, Heath Hembree and Ryan Brasier had combined for 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings before him, but the former Baltimore starter couldn’t keep it going. Cashner struggled mightily, allowing two doubles and three singles while recording only two outs, resulting in four more runs for the Orioles as they broke this one open for an 8-3 lead.
Baltimore did go to their bullpen for the sixth, and the Red Sox seemed to welcome the change. They got a walk and two singles, the latter of which was a blooper from Sandy León to score the team’s fourth run. That put runners on the corners, but Bradley couldn’t keep it going and Boston settled for the one run.
The seventh would bring on another rally for the Red Sox, too. Trialing by four, Bogaerts got it started with a base hit, which was followed by a walk and a fielder’s choice that resulted in no outs. Suddenly, the bases were loaded and Brock Holt came to the plate representing the tying run with only one out. In true 2019 fashion, though, it didn’t end well. Holt grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning and the threat.
Actually, the true 2019 fashion was in the eighth when once again the Red Sox got going early. This time they got their first two runners on before Sandy León dropped a bunt that resulted in the runner being cut down at second. Still, they had runners on the corners with one out, and then history repeated itself. This time it was Jackie Bradley Jr., but it was the same result with the inning ending on a double play.
Baltimore got one more in the ninth on a solo homer from Trey Mancini, and the Red Sox had one more chance to score at least five runs. Instead, they went down in order. And that, as they say, was that.
Well, this is just about it. The Red Sox have but one game left on the schedule, with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound going for his 20th win. The Orioles have not yet announced their starter. First pitch, like every other game around the league, is set for 3:05 PM ET.