Game 1 (2-0 BOS): After dropping a pair of extra inning games this past weekend in Toronto, the Orioles returned home on Monday and found themselves in yet another close battle that needed more than nine innings to resolve itself. Of course the O’s ended up on the losing end thanks to the offense taking the night off.
It’s no secret that the Orioles have been struggling to score runs recently. At their best they may put up three runs and we saw even less run production when the O’s played the Mets last week without a designated hitter. That felt like the lowest the offense could get but we now know that is wrong. On Monday the Orioles played without their best player as Manny Machado was left out of the lineup with an illness. Many fans expected the O’s to struggle without Machado, but getting shutout through twelve innings was still a new low for this offense.
The good news is the Orioles pitching staff showed up to play and did their best to extend the game as long as possible. Dylan Bundy got the start and allowed just three hits while striking out seven in eight innings of work. This deep outing would end up being even more appreciated as the game remained scoreless through regulation.
Richard Bleier kept the momentum going following Bundy’s exit and struck out two while retiring the side in the ninth on just eight pitches. Brad Brach was also fairly effective in 1.2 innings of work. The inconsistent reliever has cost the O’s a handful of games this season, but he provided a decent outing on Monday.
Brach made his way through the tenth inning without much trouble and then proceeded to get the first two outs of the eleventh pretty quickly. However, Brach put the next two batters on base and was forced out of the game before he could complete the inning.
Mychal Givens came in looking to shut the door and keep the Red Sox scoreless but proceeded to walk another batter and load the bases. To make things even more intense, Givens quickly fell behind Mitch Moreland in the next at bat and was now facing a 3-0 count. With his back against the wall, Givens reared back and delivered three straight fastballs to strikeout Moreland and escape the high tension moment.
You would hope an escape like that would kick the offense into high gear going into the bottom half of the inning, but the O’s remained uninspired at the plate. Chris Davis, Chance Sisco and Jace Peterson were due up but all three batters struck out and the game continued.
Givens made his way out of the eleventh by the skin of his teeth but the twelfth was not as kind. Givens allowed the first three batters to get on base before recording a single out. At this point it seemed inevitable that the Red Sox would break the scoreless monotony and that came true very quickly as Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. picked up RBI’s with a pair of sacrifice outs.
Game 2 (6-4 BOS): The Orioles got Manny Machado back on Tuesday but it was far from enough to propel them to victory. David Hess made his second start against the Red Sox and failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Hess has been a reliable piece of the rotations since making his major league debut in mid May, but Boston has given him a lot of trouble. In six starts Hess has given up fifteen earned runs and ten of them have come from the Red Sox lineup.
Miguel Castro entered the game after Hess and surrendered one more run to make it a 6-2 Boston lead by the end of the fifth. The score would remain the same until the ninth inning when the O’s got two more runs. Mark Trumbo came through with a two RBI double, but the Orioles still found themselves down by two with just one out left.
Game 3 (4-0 BOS): In the series finale the Orioles turned to a new face to make a spot start. Andrew Cashner was originally scheduled to start but hit the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with a lower back strain. This opened the door for Yefry Ramirez to make his MLB debut. The 24-year-old joined the Orioles organization in 2017 after being traded by the New York Yankees for international signing bonus slots.
Facing the Boston Red Sox in your first career start is far from ideal, but Ramirez seemed up to the task early on. The O’s starter took care of business in the first two innings but fell victim to Mookie Betts in the third when the Boston right fielder sent a solo home run to center field.
Ramirez was able to settle in and make it through the fourth but was removed after one out in the fifth after he started to run into a jam. It is likely that Buck Showalter kept Ramirez on a short leash in his first start, but the young pitcher had already thrown 97 pitches by the time he was pulled.
Mike Wright entered the game and proceeded to allow three runs before finishing the inning. The first two were credited to Ramirez since he put them on base before exiting the game.
Down 4-0 the Orioles were already at a disadvantage but the lead seemed even more insurmountable with Chris Sale on the mound for Boston. The Red Sox ace has dominated the Orioles for most of his career with a 5-2 record and a 2.79 ERA against the Birds. On Wednesday Sale gave up just two hits and struck out nine in six innings of work. He exited the game in the seventh after putting two runners on and when one came around to score later in the inning, Sale was credited with a run.
That would end up being the only run of the afternoon for the Orioles as the Boston bullpen came in and shutdown the last three innings. The O’s had a chance to push a few more runs across in the ninth by getting two runners in scoring position with two outs. Joey Rickard came to the plate for the at bat but grounded out to third base to end the game.
Up next: The Orioles will finish this home stand with a weekend series against the Miami Marlins. This will be the only meeting between these two teams in 2018.
Image credit: Patrick Semansky / AP