The Baltimore Orioles just seem to have the Boston Red Sox number. As Pedro Martinez once suggested in a similar situation, the Red Sox might just have to tip their caps and call the Orioles their Daddy.
After going 13-5 against the Red Sox last year, the Orioles stole two games in Boston this week in what could have been a Red Sox sweep. After Joel Hanrahan blew his first save of the season in an 8-5 loss on Wednesday, the Red Sox had a chance to win their third consecutive series to open the season with a win on Thursday.
Instead the Red Sox were let down by what has been one of their strengths all season: their bullpen. The combination of Clayton Mortensen, Andrew Miller, and Koji Uehara allowed the game winning run to score in the seventh inning, largely due to a lack of control.
The Orioles, for whatever reason, seem to have an innate ability to win close games. They went 29-9 last year in one-run games. You would think that their apparent inability to blow teams out would catch up with them, but evidently that is not the case.
The Red Sox are a good team, but if they want to win this year, they won’t be able to do it in the same manner that have in years past. Ever since the additions of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, Boston has been able to rely on its power hitters to carry them through the dog days of summer. They need new players to step up and perform.
That player this year has to be Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox need more consistent play from their third baseman. Coming off his monster game against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he hit three home runs, expectations were high. Unfortunately for fans, he followed that up by going hitless in the Baltimore series with four strikeouts. Players have bad games all the time, but bad series like this just can’t happen if you want to win a pennant.
If you’re looking for a bright side to this disappointing loss, it’s Alfredo Aceves. Although he was by no means dominant, he continued to be both versatile and serviceable. The emotional middle reliever filled in for injured starter John Lackey and gave the Red Sox five solid innings, allowing two earned runs. His job as a spot starter is to keep the Red Sox in the game and he did just that. For a team that’s relatively thin at starting pitcher it’s great to know that Aceves can be a reliable option.
Was the series loss to the Orioles a bad sign for the Red Sox or just a bump in the road? Feel free to share your comments to keep the conversation going.
Follow Aidan Kearney on Twitter @aidanfromworc