The Red Sox season started with a bang at Fenway against the Orioles, and the home portion of their schedule ended against the same time. They went out, however, with a whimper as Baltimore totally dominated Thursday’s game to avoid a sweep. Martín Pérez was hit all over the place to help the O’s take control early, and the Red Sox offense had no answers. We’ll see you in 2021, Fenway.
In a season full of disappointments, one of the few positives has been Martín Pérez. The peripherals never quite matched the results, but the soft contact was very real and he showed in a few big outings that he can get the job done. He has set himself up to have his 2021 option picked up and enter next season with a clear rotation spot. Now, it was just about ending the Fenway portion of the schedule well and finish his season on a high note against the Orioles. He, uh, did not succeed.
Pérez just didn’t have it in this game, and he got into mild trouble right away when Hanser Alberto smacked a base hit on the first pitch of the game. Pérez did follow that up with a couple of outs, but then Alberto stole second base to put a runner in scoring position. This time around, Pérez escaped the trouble.
That was not exactly the story in the second, to put it mildly. Austin Hays started things off with a double to put a runner into scoring position right away, and he’d move up to third base on a base hit. Rio Ruiz then made it three straight hits to start off the inning, and that one gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead. Pérez then issued his first walk of the evening to load up the bases with nobody out, and Baltimore had a real chance to take a commanding lead early on. Cedric Mullins came through for them, too, giving them their second double of the inning and extending their lead to three. Things could have gotten much worse, too, but Michael Chavis stole a base hit with a diving catch in the next at bat, then got up and threw the runner out at the plate for a massive double play. In the end, Baltimore only got the three runs.
The Red Sox southpaw did work around a base hit for a scoreless third, but the fourth would be the killer, and the end of his night. It was Ruiz getting things started this time with a double, And Ramon Urías followed it up with a ground-rule double — one that should have been caught by Alex Verdugo, to be fair, as he misread it and took a terrible route — to make it a 4-0 game. After a bunt and a sacrifice fly the lead was extended to five, and then old friend José Iglesias did something that seemed impossible. The shortstop, who has never shown off power in his career, got ahold of one and sent it into the Red Sox bullpen for an opposite field shot to make it a 6-0 game. As I said, that ended Pérez’s day (and season) with four runs in which he allowed six runs on nine hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
That was basically the game, as the Red Sox offense didn’t really have much going against Alex Cobb, who has made a habit of beating this lineup all year. They did get a couple of runners on in the second, but the inning ended prematurely when Christian Vázquez inexplicably tried to steal third base. He actually beat the throw, too, but he slid off the bag and was tagged out.
Back on the other side of the game, Dylan Covey took the ball for Boston in the fifth and he didn’t fare any better than Pérez. Despite getting two of the first three batters out in that inning, he couldn’t finish things out and Ruiz knocked in one with a double before coming home himself on a single from Urías to make it an 8-0 game.
The Red Sox did avoid a shutout, at least, by answering back in the fifth. Jackie Bradley Jr., playing perhaps his final game at Fenway, started the inning with a base hit, and they’d eventually load the bases with nobody out. It was a chance at a big inning, but instead Christian Arroyo hit into a double play that brought one run home but ended the chance for a crooked number. They’d ultimately settle for the single run.
Covey would allow one more run on a solo shot from Pat Valaika before coming out for the eighth. Domingo Tapia got the call for that frame, but only was able to come out for one batter. The righty was hit with a comebacker in that at bat, and while he was able to make the out he was removed from the game. Phillips Valdez came in after Tapia exited, and he struggled a bit, following the second out of the inning with a hit batter, a walk and a base hit. The end result was a 10-1 score at the end of the inning.
Fittingly, the ninth inning belonged to Tzu-Wei Lin, who happens to be a utility player. Of course, he gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw. The Orioles would get two more runs before they mercifully ended the inning. The game ultimately ended with the same 13-1 score.
The Red Sox now head south to take on the Braves in their final series of the season. The first game is on Friday with Chris Mazza going up against Kyle Wright. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.