The Boston Red Sox fell flat again Thursday, two nights after doing much of the same against the exact same Baltimore Orioles, and it led to yet another surprising defeat by a 6-2 verdict at Camden Yards.
Boston’s offense was nowhere to be found after a lead-off home run from Kiké Hernández. The Red Sox recorded three hits over the final eight innings with just five total. It comes after the Red Sox recorded three hits during Chris Sale’s start on Tuesday — their first loss of the three-game series.
“I’m surprised,” manager Alex Cora said after Thursday’s loss. “The way we started today we started out fast, we were putting good at-bats and then all of sudden, just like two days ago, we put some empty at-bats. We weren’t able to slow down the game. That’s the beauty of this game, there’s not a clock. You can slow it down as long as you want to, work counts, grind at-bats, put pressure on the opposition. For a while there we didn’t do that. … We didn’t do enough offensively.”
The Red Sox were retired in order during the second, fourth and fifth innings while Alexander Wells, who entered with a ERA over seven, allowed three hits in his first-ever six-inning start. He was forced to throw merely 80 pitches — 13 in the second, 13 in the fourth and eight in the fifth.
“I do believe today, at one point during the game, we need to slow it down,” Cora said. “We got to make sure we slow down the game, we grind out at-bats and we fight some at-bats. We love to do damage early in the count, look for certain pitches in certain counts, and put good swings on it, but we didn’t do much in the middle of the game tonight.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— It’s been a bit of a struggle lately for Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who went 0-for-3 in the game. Bogaerts is 2-for-23 in the last six games.
“I’m just not getting it done,” Bogaerts said. “Just been me very, very unproductive at-bats. It sucks. It sucks. I have three more games to get going and try to help this team turn this around. I know a lot of it I take responsibility for because I mean coming down a stretch like this it’s a bad time to be playing bad baseball. But sometimes it happens. It happens to the best of them. But you can’t keep a good guy down for too long.”
— Nick Pivetta allowed three runs through 4 2/3 innings and put together a respectable outing that was overshadowed by a three-run home run by Ryan Mountcastle with two outs in the third. It gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead at the time and the Orioles never trailed thereafter.
“Stuff-wise (Pivetta) was really good,” Cora said. “It just happened that (Mountcastle) got to that pitch and put a good swing on it. He’s been doing that the whole season. We thought it was a good pitch. You just got to give (Mountcastle) credit there, got to tip your hat to him. I thought stuff-wise (Pivetta) was really good. Obviously we don’t like the lead-off walk, but besides that he gave us a chance to win.”
— Cora admitted he was still trying to look at the “glass half full” given the fact, despite Boston having lost five of the last six, the team still controls its own destiny. If the season ended today, the Red Sox would welcome the Seattle Mariners to Fenway Park for game No. 163. The winner would advance to play the Yankees in the do-or-die Wild Card game.
“Obviously we got to win. We’ve been talking about winning series and we haven’t won the last two,” Cora said ahead of Boston’s trip to Washington. “This one wasn’t good at all, obviously the Yankee one wasn’t great, but I think we still control our own destiny, right? So show up tomorrow and put in a good game. … We have to win out. We have to win this series.”
— The Red Sox travel to Washington, D.C. to kick off a three-game set with the Nationals on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.