After taking three out of four from the Toronto Blue Jays this past week, the Red Sox came into the weekend with a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles on deck. As it was with the Toronto series, the main objective was to sweep Baltimore, especially with a stretch of 14 straight games against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays beginning of Monday. Instead of a sweep though, the best the Sox can hope for going forward is a series win, as they dropped the opener in disappointing fashion by a final score of 11-2 Friday.
Making his 18th start of the season for Boston and second against the O’s was David Price, fresh off throwing a season-high 113 pitches in his last time out against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tossing just four full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the humid night.
The first three of those Baltimore runs came right away in the bottom half of the first, when with two outs and runners on the corners following a one-out single and walk in consecutive order, Price served up a three-run home run to Anthony Santander on a 2-2, 93 MPH two-seam fastball over the outer half of the plate.
An inning later, after the Red Sox responded with two runs of their own, more two-out trouble arose for the Tennessee native, this time with Richie Martin ripping a triple off the right field wall and coming into score on a fielding error committed by J.D. Martinez, making it a 4-2 game.
In the fourth, Keon Broxton doubled his team’s lead, taking Price deep to left off a 2-2, 84 MPH changeup for a 407-foot, two-run blast.
Here are the locations of the two pitches Price gave up for home runs. Notice where Sandy Leon is set up. Not great.
If there are any positives to take away from Price’s performance, he did end his evening by punching out the last three Orioles he faced.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (58 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 35% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 95.5 MPH with the pitch while Leon was at the plate.
Losing at Camden Yards for the first time in his career, Price is now 7-3 on the season to go along with a 3.61 ERA. His next start should come next Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In relief of Price, Colten Brewer entered the fifth with the Red Sox trailing 6-2, and he filled the bases with the three first Orioles who came to the plate before allowing a run to cross the plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Stevie Wilkerson.
A six-pitch walk of Broxton to re-load the bases led to another change, this time with Ryan Weber taking over for Brewer.
Weber did yield another Baltimore run by getting Martin to ground into a force out at second, but ultimately escaped the frame without further damage.
From there, with the Red Sox already behind six runs to begin with, Weber took one for the team as they say, as he saw three more Orioles runs runs (two earned) cross the plate in a three-run seventh for Baltimore before tossing a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep any hopes of a nine-run comeback alive.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander John Means, who was Baltimore’s lone representative in the 2019 All-Star Game earlier this month.
Sam Travis, getting the start in left field with the southpaw on the mound, got the scoring started for Boston in the second, when with no outs and Christian Vazquez at first following a leadoff walk, the 25-year-old belted his first home run of the season. A two-run blast that had an exit velocity of 98 MPH and traveled 396 feet, per Statcast.
Travis’ second career big league homer cut the Orioles’ deficit from three runs to just one, but the Sox failed to capitalize on any run-scoring chances the remainder of the night.
Means sat down 15 of the next 18 Red Sox hitters he faced following the home run, stranding runners at first and second in the fifth in the process of doing so.
The Boston bats didn’t fare much better against the Orioles bullpen either, despite Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sandy Leon putting runners at the corners with one out in the seventh.
Nope, left-hander Richard Bleier got out of that mess, while Jimmy Yacabonis fanned two in a shutout eighth inning of work and Miguel Castro gave up a two-out single to Bradley Jr. in an otherwise clean frame of relief to close this 11-2 blowout loss for the Red Sox out.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Friday. They left seven men on base.
Xander Bogaerts’ 10-game hitting streak came to an end, while Mookie Betts extended his to 11 with a leadoff single in the first inning.
J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .103/.212/.207 with one home run and one RBI.
From NESN’s Guerin Austin:
Simply put, the Red Sox got outplayed by the Orioles in nearly every facet of the game on Friday. And that seems to be the theme with this 2019 team, one minute, you think they’re about to go on a tear, then they go ahead and take a step backwards like this.
Next up, Rick Porcello gets the start for the Sox on Saturday night. He’ll be opposed by Orioles righty Tom Eshelman.
In his only other start against the O’s this year, Porcello surrendered three runs on five hits over four innings, eventually taking the loss back on April 13th.
When pitching at Camden Yards, Porcello has posted a lifetime 4.38 ERA and .219 batting average against over 10 outings and 61 2/3 total innings pitched.
Eshelman, meanwhile, was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in 2015 and was part of the deal that sent Ken Giles from the Philadelphia Phillies to Houston in December of that same year.
Acquired by the Orioles from the Phillies in exchange for international bonus slot money on June 9th, Eshelman’s first two major league starts have come against the Rays, where he has allowed a total of six runs over 10 2/3 total innings of work.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking for a much-needed win.
Also, it’s hot in Baltimore this weekend.