The Red Sox just cannot seem to get things right these days, and their roster is providing basically the opposite of what we expected going into the year. For their last game in April, one again they got a really impressive performance from their starting pitcher, in this case Nathan Eovaldi, but their offense had absolutely nothing going against Spenser Watkins and the Orioles. It’s inexplicable, really.
We’ll start with the good, though, because it’s Sunday and we deserve it. Eovaldi is the Red Sox best pitcher, and he showed why on Saturday night giving the Red Sox their second straight relatively long no-hit run. After Rich Hill was perfect through his first four innings on Friday, Eovaldi went a little bit longer without allowing a hit, though an error in the second ensured he would not be perfect. Still, it was clear right from the start that he had it going on when the righty struck out all three batters he faced in the first inning to kick off his evening. From there through the fifth inning, the only baserunner he allowed was on the aforementioned error from Xander Bogaerts. It looked like he may get through the sixth as well when he started off that inning with a pair of quick outs, but Cedric Mullins broke up the no-no bid by poking one down the left field line for a two-out double, Baltimore’s first hit of the day.
Ultimately, Eovaldi would get out of that inning and give the Red Sox one more. The seventh proved to be his most stressful of the night when he allowed back-to-back hits to lead off the frame, and later a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. He’d get Tyler Nevin swinging on a curveball, though, keeping the runs off the board and finishing off his seventh shutout inning. Eovaldi allowed only three hits on the day without issuing a walk and striking out eight in the process.
But of course, the offense just couldn’t give him the run support he so clearly deserved with this effort. It didn’t seem like it was going to be that way right off the bat, though. Trevor Story was back in the leadoff spot and ripped the first pitch of the game out to right-center field for a ground-rule double, and the Red Sox had their leadoff man in scoring position. Sure enough, a couple batters later Bogaerts shot one back up through the middle, and the Red Sox had an early 1-0 lead, just three batters into the game.
And that would be it for the Red Sox offense in this game. They’d get one more baserunner in that inning on a walk, but it was their last inning with multiple baserunners until the fifth. There, they had two singles but they were separated by a double play. There was also a walk from Bogaerts after the second single to actually put two runners on in the inning, but they were predictably stranded to keep the score 1-0.
That was still the score heading into the bottom of the eighth, with Boston’s offense coming off three straight 1-2-3 innings and Matt Barnes coming in trying to protect the small lead and give Eovaldi the win he deserved. It didn’t work out. Barnes got two quick outs to start the inning, but the third out proved elusive, with Mullins smacking his second double of the day, this one just beyond the reach of a diving Alex Verdugo, to start the rally. Barnes then got to a 2-2 count against Anthony Santander, but couldn’t get his putaway curveball down and out of the zone, instead leaving it up to be smacked back up the middle for a base hit, and with that we were tied at one. The inning was closed out after that, but the damage was done.
Neither side got anything going in the ninth, with the offense going down in order for a fourth straight inning while Ryan Brasier did the same to the O’s, so we were headed to extras. Even putting a free runner at second base wasn’t enough to spark anything for Boston, who drew a walk but got nothing else to keep it 1-1 heading into the bottom of the inning, with Hirokazu Sawamura trying to extend this game into the 11th.
It didn’t work. Boston opted to try and set up a double play by walking the leadoff man intentionally, but things ended up quickly going south. Robinson Chirinos was trying to give the Red Sox an out by bunting in the next at bat, but Sawamura tried to get the out at third. It was the right play and he easily had him, except his throw sailed way over Rafael Devers’ glove. Jorge Mateo, who started the inning on second, came around to score without any issue and the Orioles walked it off on the error with a 2-1 victory.
The Red Sox will once again try and get their offense going on Sunday while also looking to salvage this series in Baltimore. They’ll have Nick Pivetta on the mound while the Orioles counter with Jordan Lyles. First pitch is set for 1:05 PM ET.