On a big day for Boston and the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles earned a hard-fought series split with a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox on Patriots Day.
Game 18: Baltimore Orioles (9-9) 7 Boston Red Sox (9-11) 6 F
W: Wei-Yin Chen (3-1, 4.91)
L: Clay Buchholz (0-2, 7.71)
S: Tommy Hunter (5, 4.50)
MVP: Steve Clevenger 1-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 1 DP turned. Clevenger also helped keep Tommy Hunter calm during a very intense ninth inning.
The GOOD: The Baltimore Orioles continue to get contributions from up and down the lineup. Every Orioles starter had a hit, and Steve Lombardozzi had two. Clevenger scored twice and also had the only extra base hit for the Birds. The Orioles also only struck out twice, which is a big improvement compared to the large number of strikeouts the team has tallied so far this year.
The Orioles had no errors in this game. Which normally isn’t notable, but this weekend’s series featured some bad defense from the O’s. Today wasn’t perfect, but not having any errors is an improvement.
Wei-Yin Chen started well, and ended up pitching well enough to get the win. He didn’t allow any hits until the fourth inning, but unraveled in the fifth inning. He got out of the fifth with the lead, and that was key. Also, Ryan Webb was excellent on Monday. He struck out the side in the 6th in an inning the Orioles desperately needed a shut down inning.
The BAD: The infield continues to be a bit iffy. Not having J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado in the roster is likely the reason for that. Lombardozzi has played pretty well at 2B, so I don’t think it is a major problem, but has been a bit of an issue.
The starting pitching is a concern. Once again, the Orioles did not get a quality start because a pitcher did not pitch enough innings. And that is why other members of the bullpen, pitching for the second time in about 18 hours, struggled on Monday.
Another issue that cropped up this series is the Orioles getting out to leads and then attempting to coast from there. Against teams that have power and grind games out like almost everyone in the AL East, that won’t work. The Orioles are doing a good job of getting out to leads, but have to keep their collective feet on the gas.
Just a mention of Saturday and Sunday’s games, as I was busy with family both days. I thought both starting pitchers fared pretty well. Bud Norris pitched well, just was undone by a good swing by Brock Holt. And Ubaldo was cruising until the 6th inning, when he left up a few hits and then threw a meatball to Jonny Gomes, who drilled it. The bullpen struggled a bit this weekend, which is going to be the case if the starters can’t go deep in games. The defense Sunday night was absolutely awful, from Ryan Flaherty’s transfer error (which is an absolutely awful rule), to the terrible throw home by David Lough that Jonathan Schoop failed to cut off. But, all in all a series split in such an emotional series against the defending champs is just fine, and the Orioles head to Toronto next.
What’s NEXT: The Orioles head to Canada to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (10-9). The Jays will send R.A. Dickey (1-3, 6.26) to the mound, while the Orioles counter with righty Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 6.28). Neither pitcher has performed to their level so far this year, but both have strong track records. The Orioles did very, very well against Dickey and his knuckleball last year, and will hope to continue that success Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 from Rogers Centre.