You had to figure that Miguel Gonzalez was in need of at least a halfway decent start at Fenway Park this afternoon given how things are shaping up in the Orioles’ rotation right now. With Bud Norris set to come off the DL potentially on Monday, the Baltimore Orioles might be forced to make a decision involving one of their starting pitchers. Gonzalez, not wanting to be a part of that decision, turned his performance up a notch in this afternoon’s game at Fenway Park (even though the O’s lost in walk off fashion). Gonzalez’s line: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 earned), 2 BB, 6 K.
Gonzalez did start off a bit rocky; Stephen Drew homered with one out in the second, and Bradley followed with a double. Brock Holt would later send a soft tapper to Jonathan Schoop at second base, and Schoop’s errant throw drew Steve Pearce off the bag at first. This allowed Bradley to score, and the O’s were in a 2-0 hole. To his credit, Bradley never stopped running from the get go on that play, which indicates that he had every intention of scoring (or trying to score) on a ball that was put in play.
After that however, Gonzalez was always able to reach back and find whatever pitch he needed in order to get key outs at key moments in the game. Alex Pierzynski, who was Boston’s DH in the game, popped out to catcher Caleb Joseph once, and to Steve Pearce at third base three times. The final pop out in the last of the eighth drew a chorus of boo birds from the Fenway
Faithful – something of which I’m not really a big fan. Anyone who follows my twitter feed during the games has probably seen me question Orioles fans for booing their players – and that’s something that happens much more frequently in Boston. I just see no reason that a player should be boo’d in his home yard – but that’s just me.
Delmon Young led of the third inning by reaching first on a rare throwing error by Dustin Pedroia. Caleb Joseph would then single to left field, and the O’s were in business with runners at first and second. Both runners would later move into scoring position when Nick Markakis grounded out with one already down, leaving the Orioles in a two-out with two runners in scoring position situation. Steve Pearce would reach first base on a fielding error at third by Bogaerts, and both runners would come into score.
Boston starter Jon Lester was equally as good as Gonzalez, keeping the Orioles off the board lest those two unearned runs. It’s easy to bring up the fact that the Orioles weren’t able to score any earned runs in the game, which may well be a fair point. However keep in mind that when you find ways to get guys on base (be it through hits, walks errors, etc), things can often happen. At that point all it takes is an infielder booting a ball as we proceeded to see, and suddenly you have a couple of runs on the board.
With the score tied at two going into the last of the ninth, John Farrell pinch-hit Johnny Gomes who proceeded to reach base on an infield single. He was sacrificed over to second base by David Ross, and Farrell once again decided to send up a pinch hitter. This time it was Jonathan Herrera to face T.J. McFarland (who had relieved Gonzalez for the ninth inning). Herrera sent an RBI-single to center, which scored Gomes and ended the game in favor of Boston, 3-2.
The Orioles will have to put this game out of their memory quickly, as they’re set to play game two of the doubleheader at 7:15 PM this evening in a game that will be televised nationally by FOX Sports. The road doesn’t get any easier for the O’s, as they’ll have to face John Lackey while sending Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound at Fenway.
A couple of things will happen prior to the game tonight involving the roster. First off Manny Machado (who watched this afternoon’s game from a suite above Fenway Park) will be reinstated to the active roster. Machado of course was suspended, which means that the Birds were playing the past five games with only 24 active players on the roster. (So in other words, there’s no corresponding roster move.) The O’s will also call up Preston Guilmet from triple-A Norfolk for the bullpen, as they’ll have the right to play with 26 men on the roster for the night cap this evening as per MLB’s rules governing doubleheaders. Someone (possibly Guilmet or someone else will have to be optioned back to Norfolk immediately following the game tonight.
Kevin Gausman is expected to start tomorrow afternoon’s game at Fenway, so there will also be a roster move made at some point involving Gausman between the end of tonight’s game and tomorrow’s.