There was nothing inherently egregious about this afternoon’s loss to the Orioles, but there are definitely some issues that need to be addressed on this coming off day.
First off, this was the first time the Red Sox lost when Tanner Houck took the bump this season. He didn’t give up a lot of hard contact, but he wasn’t missing many bats. Of the 86 pitches Houck heaved today, he got only six swings and misses. Talk about not the sharpest outing. Richard Bleier didn’t throw a clean inning, neither did John Schreiber, and despite each of them only giving up one run, it digs you into a hole as the game goes on. Schreiber maybe gets a little more benefit of the doubt for giving up one of the weirdest hits all season to lead off the eighth, taking a comebacker off the ankle and kicking it skyward so high it became an unplayable ball.
The real star of the game for the Red Sox on both sides of the ball was Masataka Yoshida. Another home run and a stellar diving catch to save probably two more runs being scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
It’s great to see him breaking out not just with his bat but being comfortable enough in left field.
Otherwise, this was a pretty pedestrian loss for the Red Sox. All it took was one inning, a three-run fourth for the Orioles to seal the Sox’s fate.
Kiké Hernandez (.083 WPA, 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K)
Getting on base clearly matters for WPA, and Hernandez did just that. Not that he scored any runs today or brought any home, but you can’t even think about brining runs home without getting on base.
Masataka Yoshida (.043 WPA, 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 run scored, 1 K)
Yoshida, despite the one hit, had the most productive swing of the afternoon, launching yet another home run in the past week. He’s really finding his form at the plate, and that’s a huge win for the Red Sox.
Justin Turner (.039 WPA, 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP)
We’re glad JT is OK after being hit by a pitch; he was certainly wincing in pain after taking a 96 MPH fastball to the elbow guard. Luckily it wasn’t anywhere more sensitive, and the pain was just a stinger, but you’re going to feel that regardless.
Tanner Houck (-.226 WPA, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K)
Houck just didn’t have his best stuff today, and against a really rejuvenated O’s squad, that won’t result in good things. The only upside is he went a full five innings, so the bullpen wasn’t completely taxed heading into this off day.
Christian Arroyo (-.072 WPA, 0-for-2, 1 K)
I feel like I could copy and paste this same blurb for Valdez below, but with Yu Chang’s injury, it’s even more imperative Arroyo finds himself on base. He’s just not getting it done right now.
Enmanuel Valdez (-.072 WPA, 0-for-2, 1 K)
The only difference Valdez has for him is some stellar defense when the game was still tied.
Play of the Game
Amazingly for both the whole game and for the Red Sox, the most impactful play by a WPA of .109 was Yoshida’s solo HR in the top of the 2nd inning.
Who was the Red Sox player of the game in their 6-2 loss to the Orioles on 4/26/2023?
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Other (leave your answer in the comments!)