'What we learned': Even Porcello can’t save Red Sox in low-scoring game
'What we learned': Red Sox' 1-0 loss to Orioles
BOSTON -- Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 1-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles . . .
1) Even Rick Porcello can’t save the Red Sox in tight, low-scoring games
It took a lot for it to happen over 15 games, but Porcello finally has a loss at Fenway this season.
With the exception of a hanging slider to Mark Trumbo, he did nothing to deserve that loss. Porcello was rock-solid against a playoff-contender in a playoff environment.
“This is what you train for -- this is what you play for,” Porcello said after his start. “You play to play meaningful baseball in September and hopefully into October.”
Both the Red Sox and their fanbase had a scare when Porcello took a 104 mph comebacker off his calf in the second inning. But he moved on and didn’t have any issues after it.
Porcello’s start amplifies the recurring issue surrounding the Red Sox all season: their inability to manufacture runs in tight contests.
2) Hanley Ramirez’s recklessness on the bases earlier in the year is paying off
At the start of 2016, it seemed like Ramirez was hell-bent on repenting for his sins in 2015, particularly regarding his approach to the game.
It was never more apparent than when he ran the bases, constantly taking risks from first-to-third or second-to-home night-in and night-out. And the results haven’t always been in his favor.
However, what it has done is give him a gauge for arms around the league, along with assessing his own speed.
“Knowing we’re in a tight ballgame as it was, he legs out an infield hit to try to give us a little bit of an opportunity,” John Farrell said on Ramirez’s in the eighth inning. “A bloop single, that he gets a very good read on to go first and third. And that was the only at-bat all night on both sides where there was a runner in scoring position.”
That’s the type of play that teams need in order to manufacture runs when nothing else is working.
3) The Orioles might be a tougher postseason matchup for Boston than originally anticipated
Coming into the series, Toronto still seemed like the strongest team in the AL East besides Boston.
With the 3-game set concluding Wednesday, the Red Sox sit one game ahead of the Orioles and two up on the Blue Jays (and four ahead of the Yankees for those asking).
The aside from presenting the obviously explosive offense, Baltimore has a lock-down bullpen with Brad Brach and Zach Britton.
Brach has been impressive in 2016 with his 1.76 ERA in 71 2/3 IP and a 0.98 WHIP. He helps cut the game down by an inning on almost every night.
Then there’s Britton. A closer who can make a legitimate run at the Cy Young depending on where his team finishes the season.
The lefty is 43-for-43 in save opportunities with a 0.62 ERA and 0.84 WHIP over 58 1/3 innings. He’s as close to “impossible to beat” as you’ll get in 2016.
And if the two teams were to face off in a one-game playoff, the Red Sox had better open the game up early.
Because they’re not pushing anything across on Baltimore’s bullpen.