Series Recap – Orioles @ Red Sox
Despite the Orioles best efforts, we're still under .500
I considered starting this off pretending that Friday’s game didn’t happen. I sat there and watched the Celtics and Red Sox piss games away surrounded by people telling me “It’s just a game, why are you so sad?” How about you shut the fuck up, the team I happened to grow up closest to lost a game against another city’s team and it is my right as an American to make that everybody’s problem. Now if we’re being totally honest, I accomplished my goal of drinking enough to not remember either game, so the details are a little hazy and my notes app looks like the Zodiac Killer’s cipher so this one may be a little all over the place.
Thursday started off looking like another beat down, something that this offense has started to accomplish more and more. Our first four batters crossed the plate without a single out to show for it. Usually when you start off a game that way, you’re going to like the result. After Kiké scored on a throwing error, Bogaerts hit a ball off the Nationwide sign, giving us a 4-0 lead. Then in the second, Verdugo would hit a ground rule double with the bases loaded and 2 down. Martinez and Vaz would add RBIs of their own to give our pitching 8 runs of support. That is called doing your job. Can’t ask for more than that. Whitlock gave us 6 innings of 2 run ball, exactly what I had said we’d need out of him with a double header coming up the following day. Starting pitching doing their job. What would follow is one of the worst bullpen implosions that I have ever witnessed. I did this the other day for a visual of what a fun game looks like so here is a visual of a game that makes you question the existence of God, and wonder what you have done to earn his punishment:
96% chance of victory in the bottom of the second. 99% in the top of the seventh. Then the Orioles treat the Sox bullpen like The Mountain treated the Viper.
That is fucking atrocious. What's a real gut-punch is there are 2 guys on this list that I have continuously stuck my neck out for. If this is how my Mom felt all those times she told me she was “not mad, but disappointed” then I need to call her and apologize for all of my transgressions. Schreiber I am less disappointed in – he walked a guy, then missed a spot and got punished for it. Not ideal when you only have a 3 run lead, but he wasn’t going to be perfect forever. Plus, he buckled down and picked up the next 2 outs, so he showed he can play through a little adversity. Strahm is the really painful one. I keep banging the drum for this guy to be our closer, then we give him one of the highest leverage situations of the season and he looks like every other asshole in that bullpen. Schreiber got pulled after getting 2 outs with the bases empty, a move I dislike every time it happens (don't tell me the matchup is better, I don't want to hear it). He let up a ground rule double, then Devers throws a shit ball on a tough play to bring in Odor. Tie ballgame. What really sucked was his second inning of work. He would allow three straight singles without recording an out, giving them the lead and forcing Cora to send out Sawamura, who would do what he does and allow each inherited runner to score plus one more. That would be it. Also fuck you Jake Diekman, but that's to be expected. And that would be that. Now lets take that game and bury it. Still have 4 more to get through. Sox lose 12-8.
Saturday we would have a double header and the story there is Nathan Eovaldi. I actually wrote in my notes early on that it looked like he didn't have it and he was playing on the edge of a cliff. But I am a stupid blogger so what do I know. His first complete game of his career, and it would come in his 211th start - the most starts a pitcher has ever thrown before their first in MLB History. That's a long time for those unfamiliar with the sport. Now, I'm not entirely wrong in saying he didn't have his best stuff. The balls were getting smoked off the bat, but just happened to be going right to our fielders. Take a look at the Exit Velos in the first 5 innings of work:
If you average out those 16 at-bats, it comes out to a 97.2 average Exit Velocity. It is a little shocking that the Orioles only managed 3 runs, let alone Eovaldi would have this be his complete game. Innings 6 and 7 would be a little bit easier on us, but again, in the 8th and the 9th, the ball was getting smoked: a 108 MPH groundout, a 105 MPH single, and ending the game on a 101 MPH GIDP. The Orioles were seeing the ball. But nonetheless, great pitchers can get outs when they don't have their best, and Eovaldi got 27 of them. The other side of the ball was just good enough to give Nate the support he needed. I have said it all season, when the bottom of our lineup does anything positive we can win any game. When Verdugo was thrown out at home on an Arroyo wall-ball double with no outs I was screaming at my TV. But then Weck-dawg walked, and JBJ would continue the tear he's been on in May, putting a double in the oppo corner. Kiké brought both of them home, giving us a 3-1 lead. The O's would tie it up on ball that snuck over the monster, but Cora then managed us to a win, pinch hitting Dalbec in Cordero's place. Did I think this was a good idea? No the fuck I did not. And yet again I was proven why I watch the games from my couch and not the dugout as Dalbec put a ball 400 feet into the bleachers. We'd add an insurance run on an infield single from Arroyo after Bogey got JD over to third on a double, and that would be the end of the scoring for the afternoon game. Sox win 5-3. Series 1-1.
Game 2 on Saturday was a different story. Winck looked shaky in his first appearance, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. He was able to work his way out of a bases loaded situation in the first, but he got himself into that by allowing a hit and two walks in that inning. He would walk 3 in as many innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and striking out 4. Three of the four would come from a home run off the bat of Odor. He really struggled to locate any of his pitches, and when he did it was being taken for a ride. Here's a chart of his pitches
What I am looking at mostly here is the 4-Seam Fastball and Sinker mix. It has a pretty strong divide the 2, but Saturday his fastball was the better pitch. The O's were only able to put one of those 4-Seamers in play, and it was one of the ones that was painted on the black so you can't be mad at that. He also had 2 strikeouts on that pitch. Meanwhile his sinker was hanging out a little bit too high for my liking, ideally you would like to see those lower in the zone. If he can work on his locations when we eventually send him back down, I think he is going to be a solid reliever down the road. Beyond Winck's disappointing first start in the bigs, our bullpen actually shoved this game:
That's an inning per pitcher, only allowing 1 hit, and grabbing 3 Ks. A day late, but still a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I was busy being furious with the offense, so I barely realized they were doing as well as they were. In 4 separate innings, we would leave runners in scoring position. Devers, X, Story, Arroyo, and Verdugo all were 0-1 and JBJ was 0-2. Vazquez was 3-4 with a RBI and a double, as he continued the tear he's been on all May. This loss is on the offense. 4-2 Sox lose game 2 of the double header.
Then Sunday the Sox would do that really cool thing where they act like the ball murdered one of their loved ones in front of them. I'm not gonna touch on all of them, but here is what I am talking about:
Buddy,,,,,,, that'll do. Franchy hit that ball to Mars without even trying, Bobby would take his second of the series deep, and Devers hit his team leading 11th home run. Vaz would also have 2 doubles and Xander would match that, adding 2 RBIs to his. Franchy also had a pair of RBIs off another 2 hits. The only player in our starting lineup without an RBI was Story, who would go 0-4. Pivetta held up his end of the bargain, going 6 innings of 1 run baseball before handing it over to Houck, who went 2 allowing only 2 hits, and Valdez would let up the only other run. A game when everything clicks. It's been hard to come by, but damn does it feel good. 12-2 Sox, tied series.
Then we come down to Monday. The Sox have a chance to win their fifth straight series and get to within 1 game of .500. And this absolute juggernaut of an offense puts up 10 runs, meanwhile the pitching put up a damn shutty. And of course the "juggernaut offense" I'm referring to is the Orioles. 10-0. The Sox just fucking flat out stunk. Absolutely abysmal. Rich Hill looked off from the jump, but I thought he might figure it out after going superman for the first out of the game, saving himself a run. But he would immediately give up a dinger after a single and triple in the first inning. I really don't know what else to say on this one. Hill sucked, giving up 6 over 4, then Brasier gives up another one, then Barnes gives up a 3 run dong. Xander had a double and Vazquez had a double with a pretty good slide? Idk man, this sucked and there really isn't a silver lining. I don't really have the energy to motherfuck the entire offense. I like Mike Monaco on the broadcast so I guess that's a positive? Whatever, baseball is dumb anyways. This season looks like every other season when Sox fans and Yankee fans chirp each other for losing to the Orioles while simultaneously losing to the Orioles. Sox lose 10-0. Sox drop the series 3-2. I am sad.