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Red Sox 8, Orioles 6: Corey Kluber Finally Shines, Jarren Duran Rakes

The Red Sox put a lot of runs on the board early, and were helped by Corey Kluber’s best performance of the season.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I have to admit something to anyone who hasn’t realized this yet: I can be a massive hater. I don’t love seeing the Red Sox lose, but I am not surprised because I spend more time recognizing their weaknesses than their strengths. I am like many of you: a pessimistic realist. I’m like this in life, too, and so, when something the Red Sox do doesn’t pan out immediately, my hunger for instant gratification grumbles and I am left to complain.

Coming into tonight, Corey Kluber, the ace-on-paper this season, looked like a horrible investment for the Red Sox, holding an 0-4 record and a 6.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. This was many notches worse than his career stats. Consider this, the fact that he is 37-years-old, and his 2021 shoulder injury (on top of another shoulder injury in 2020,) and it would be too easy to cite this as another reason Chaim Bloom would be better suited as, oh, I don’t know, the guy counting foot traffic in Copley Square, or a weatherman, or something, anything else but a guy in charge of the roster of one of the highest payrolls in baseball. I was ready to curse this team up and down if Corey Kluber had just one more in a string of bad outings.

Tonight, Kluber said “not so fast.”

It was pretty apparent early on that Corey Kluber not only had “the right stuff” tonight, but also that he was going to get these outs efficiently. He retired the Orioles in order in the first inning, forced three consecutive batters into fly outs after surrendering a hit to Ryan Mountcastle in the second, struck out two batters in the third, got himself out of some trouble in the fourth, stranding two, finally allowed a run on a Jorge Mateo homer in the fifth but emerged otherwise unscathed, and gave up another hit to Mountcastle, but otherwise remained under control in a quiet sixth inning. And so, this was the final stat line for Kluber on the night: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Even better for Kluber, the game was well decided by the third inning.

The Red Sox wasted no time getting some baserunners, as Kyle Bradish (who finished the night with a line of 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 H) had a rough go of it. The scoring started in the second as Christian Arroyo capitalized on a Triston Casas lead off walk, followed by a Jarren Duran double. Next, Rafael Devers scored Arroyo (who would later leave the game due to injury and was replaced by Enmanuel Valdez) on a sac fly to increase the lead to 3, but the Sox squandered any opportunity for more and stranded 2.

In the third, Jarren Duran showed that he wants this roster spot by making the most of a bases-loaded opportunity by simply driving one over the wall for a grand slam. It was his first home run of the season and the first grand slam of his career. He added a run in the eighth inning by reaching on a single and eventually coming home on a Reese McGuire groundout; he was just a triple away from hitting for the cycle. I won’t run from anyone who digs up an article I wrote about his performance in Worcester just a couple short weeks ago, where I was curious what future he has in the Major Leagues. It seems as though he’s figured something out, and with the severity of Adam Duvall’s wrist fracture an unknown, he could be here for a little while. If he kept batting the way he’s been batting, I would have absolutely zero complaints. And he wasn’t the only outfielder raising eyebrows... Alex Verdugo looked sharp defensively, chasing after balls on the warning track including one that appeared to be destined to meet the wall. This is consecutive nights he’s made impressive plays in right, and it appears his fielding has truly turned a corner from good to great.

Tonight wasn’t all roses, though; with the game almost all but decided following two quiet but characteristically productive innings by Josh Winckowski, up came Kaleb Ort in the ninth inning. I joked that Ort is one of two guys in the world that can make me sweat an 8-1 lead, somewhat out of jest, but little did I know how real that joke would become in the span of just five minutes. Ort allowed a lead-off home run to Gunnar Henderson that I’m sure made many roll their eyes, He followed that up by allowing a single by Ramon Urias, retired Adam Frazier, surrendered a long single by Terrin Vavra, and then shoveled a ball to second that was bobbled by Enmanuel Valdez (hardly Valdez’s only defensive slip in the Majors so far...) With Kenley Jansen stretching in the bullpen, Ort then allowed a Cedric Mullins grand slam that made the ballgame 8-6 and brought the closer out to, well, close this one out.

This was an appearance from Jansen that shouldn’t have needed to happen, but it was one we appreciated nonetheless, as he quickly got Adley Rutschmann to ground out and ended the game on an Anthony Santander fly out to Verdugo. Jansen surpassed former Boston pitcher Craig Kimbrel for seventh all-time in saves with 397. The Red Sox handed the Orioles their first loss in a week and again emerged over .500, with a record of 13-12. There will be some that will read this game solely by its ninth inning and wonder why a guy like Brayan Bello with plenty left to develop but a high ceiling in the majors was sent down to Worcester rather than given some time in the bullpen while guys such as Ort remain on the 26-man roster. Thanks to some early fantastic play that would help more than we would know, that’s a question more for tomorrow than for tonight, even for massive haters such as myself.

Thank you Jarren Duran, and thank you Corey Kluber!

Three Studs:

Jarren Duran: .163 WPA, 3-4, HR(1), 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI

Corey Kluber: .129 WPA, 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 3 SO

Christian Arroyo: .075 WPA, 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 R

Three Duds:

Matasaka Yoshida (for some reason): -.064 WPA, 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB

Kaleb Ort (the more logical choice): -.042 WPA, 0.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 H

Justin Turner: -.002 WPA, 0-4, 1 BB

Play of the Game

No brainer, but it was Jarren Duran’s grand slam to increase the lead from 3 to 7, with a .090 WPA. Although it was early in the game, it allowed the Red Sox the breathing room to leave Kluber in an extra inning and use Winckowski/the bullpen comfortably all night until Ort’s uncomfortable ninth inning. Surprisingly enough, Mullins’ grand slam only scored a .027 WPA for Baltimore, so Boston truly did have it in the bag early, even by the numbers.


Who was the Red Sox player of the game in their 8-6 win over the Orioles on 4/25/23?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Jarren Duran
    (121 votes)
  • 29%
    Corey Kluber
    (53 votes)
  • 0%
    Christian Arroyo
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Kenley Jansen
    (2 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now