March 30, 2023

G1: Orioles 10, Red Sox 9

Orioles - 100 430 200 - 10 15  2
Red Sox - 100 102 032 - 9 11 1
The Red Sox trailed 5-1, 8-2, and 10-4 . . . and still nearly pulled off what would have been a stunning Opening Day victory on a chilly (38 degrees at the start of the contest) March afternoon.

The Orioles blew the chance at a game-ending double play; the error on the relay to first put the potential tying run for Boston at second and the winning run on first. But Orioles closer Félix Bautista fanned Adam Duvall on three pitches . . . giving Alex Cora an 0-5 record on Opening Day as the Red Sox manager.

The game featured 19 runs, 26 hits, 11 walks, three errors, two hit batsmen and was played in 3:10.

Baltimore's Adley Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history (!) to go 5-for-5 on Opening Day; he homered and drove in four runs (and walked). Adam Frazier scored three runs.

The top three hitters in Boston's lineup – Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers, Justin Turner – each had two hits and two runs scored. Masataka Yoshida also had two hits and Triston Casas and Christian Arroyo each drive in two runs.

Corey Kluber (3.1-6-5-4-4, 80) surrendered a solo home run to his second batter of the game and a two-run dong in the fourth. After a double, single, stolen base, and a walk, Kluber departed with the bases loaded. Zack Kelly allowed two of the runners to score, on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk.

In the fifth, Ryan Brasier hit a batter and got a double play. And then . . . walk, stolen base, single, stolen base, wild pitch, walk, stolen base, single . . . and the third out. The Orioles led 8-2. They stole a total of five bases in the game.

The Red Sox tied the game off Kyle Gibson (5-6-4-1-3, 79) in the first when Verdugo tripled to left-center. Cedric Mullins may have lost the ball in the sun at the base of the wall; he tentatively stuck out his glove and the ball hit off the wall. Verdugo scored three pitches later on Devers's grounder to first.

Devers doubled to start the fourth, went to third on a groundout, and scored on Duvall's single to left. After Casas walked, Boston had the bases loaded, but Arroyo GIDP. Devers and Turner singled to start the sixth. Facing Keegan Akin, Masataka Yoshida singled to center for one run and Casas's grounder to first brought homer Turner. Baltimore scored two in the seventh and was up 10-4 at the stretch.

Bryan Baker was credited with a strikeout of Devers (on a pitch clock violation on 1-2). Turner walked, Yoshida singled, and Duvall was hit by a pitch. Casas lifted a sac fly to center and Arroyo doubled over Anthony Santander's head, as he stumbled back to the wall in left, to score two – and it was 10-7.

Raimel Tapia walked against Bautista to open the ninth. Verdugo singled to center and an error by Mullins allowed the runners to advance to third and second. Devers struck out, but Turner reached on an infield hit to third, scoring Tapia. Rob Refsynder ran for Turner. Yoshida showed a great eye before grounding to shortstop. Jorge Mateo's relay to first was low and Ryan Mountcastle made an unsuccessful backhand swipe at it. Verdugo scored, cutting the Orioles' lead to 10-9. Duvall was next and his K closed the book on the game.

Work took me away from the game in the middle of the third. I discovered that, in addition to the players, I will also have to get used to the faster pace when keeping scoring and posting in the game thread. (The threading community is a shadow of what it once was (aren't we all?); feel free to join.) The new rules require pitchers to begin their delivery within 15 seconds of getting the ball if the bases are empty and 20 seconds with runner(s) on base. In the first two innings, I noticed Kluber often began his motion with five or six seconds left on the clock. In the third, with a runner on second, he threw two pitches with eight seconds remaining. He did not seem in any danger of letting the clock run out.

Dave O'Brien and Kevin Youkilis called the game for NESN. I had no issues with either of them for the 2.5 innings I watched – which might qualify as a minor miracle. However, I did smirk in the top of the first when OB noted that Red Sox spring training games were completed in an average of 2:38 – "about 20 minutes faster than last year". He did not correct himself and Yook stayed silent.

Kyle Gibson / Corey Kluber
Alex Verdugo, RF
Rafael Devers, 3B
Justin Turner, DH
Masataka Yoshida, LF
Adam Duvall, CF
Triston Casas, 1B
Christian Arroyo, 2B
Reese McGuire, C
Kiké Hernández, SS

All 30 teams will play their first game of the season today, the first time since 1968 that Opening Day has involved every team (there was only 20 teams then). Also, this is the first season ever in which every team will play at least one series against every other team

This is the American League's 123rd season and the National League's 147th campaign.

As you may know, I have been displeased with most, if not all, of the changes Commissioner Shithead has made to fucking demolish and make a mockery of the game in recent years, but I'm planning to watch games over the next few weeks with an open mind (until they go into extras, that is).

I'm confident I'll like the pitch clock (spring training games were, on average, 26 minutes shorter), although there was already a rule covering this issue and C. Shithead could have simply told all of the umpires: "Hey, enforce 5.07(c)". But that would not have been simple because – judging from the continued employment of several umpires whose headache-inducing and blood-pressure-rising incompetence has lasted for years – it appears that Commander Shithead is afraid to give orders to the umpires and possibly annoy their union. 

I was kind of planning on writing something (or gathering opinions) about the different rules and whatnot, but I never got around to it. Maybe I'll do some of that when I report on seeing all this new stuff in action.

The 2022 Orioles finished 83-79 – their first season above .500 since 2016 – which was five games better than the Red Sox. That hurts. . . . Uh-oh.


This is the third time in four seasons that the Orioles and Red Sox have opened the season at Fenway Park. In 2020, the Red Sox won 13-2. In 2021, Baltimore chicagoed Boston 3-0.

Manager Alex Cora has not enjoyed an Opening Day win as manager of the Red Sox. This will be his fifth attempt.

Who Left, Who Arrived:

Gone: Xander Bogaerts (SS), J.D. Martinez (DH), Eric Hosmer (1B), Tommy Pham (OF), and pitchers Nate Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Matt Barnes, Matt Strahm

Hello: Justin Turner (DH), Masataka Yoshida (OF), Adam Duvall (OF), Adalberto Mondesi (SS), and pitchers Kenley Jansen, Corey Kluber, Chris Martin, Joely Rodríguez, Richard Bleier

Ian Browne (, on the lineup, Corey Kluber, the bullpen, and various injuries:

Boston is quietly excited about its lineup. Manager Alex Cora believes this combination of hitters will get back to grinding out at-bats and mainly just swinging at strikes. The Sox have been trying to fill the leadoff spot since Mookie Betts was traded. Alex Verdugo will get a shot against righties. Rafael Devers is one of the most feared hitters in the game, and the Red Sox are hoping a rejuvenated Turner can give him the protection he needs. Yoshida, fresh off 13 RBIs in the World Baseball Classic, adds intrigue. . . . 

Kluber, the veteran right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner, isn't the elite pitcher he once was, but Kluber has done a nice job reinventing himself by going with a more craftsman approach. Last season, Kluber threw his cutter 34.2 percent of the time and his curve 27.3 percent. He also used his sinker a lot and threw just 36 four-seam fastballs all season. Kluber isn’t going to light up a radar gun. He typically tops out in the tops out at 88-89-mph at this point of his career. . . .

They have a new closer in Jansen, and that's not a new name to baseball fans. Jansen has 391 career saves, which ranks eighth all-time. The setup crew will be led by another former Dodger in righty Chris Martin, a strike-throwing machine. John Schreiber broke out to become a force last year. . . . Ryan Brasier, the longest-tenured member of the bullpen, is out to prove he can still pitch after an erratic 2022 season. Richard Bleier opens the season as Boston's lead lefty with Joely Rodriguez on the injured list. . . .

Shortstop/second baseman Trevor Story will miss at least half the season as he recovers from an internal bracing procedure on his right elbow. Adalberto Mondesi, one of the players brought into fill Story's void, is still recovering from a torn left ACL he sustained last season, and won't be back until at least May. Three starting pitchers – Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello and James Paxton – are all beginning the season on the injured list. Whitlock should be back by around April 11. Bello is about a week behind that schedule. Paxton won't return before May. Rodriguez's timetable is unclear as he recovers from a Grade 2 strain of his right oblique.

Chris Sale believes this team could surprise people in the way the 2021 club did, winning 92 games and  getting two wins away from the World Series.

I think more so than anything, the talent is obviously there, but the excitement is there. The drive, the focus [are there]. We're very disciplined. . . . [Alex Cora] holds people accountable, and people respect him. As much as people want to go out there and do well for us, we don't want to let him down either.

Matthew Kory (Sox Outsider; subscribe, it's free) also thinks a 2021 uprising is possible . . . or not:

This is the first time in a while where it feels like the team could make the playoffs and go on a 2021-type run, or they could bottom out by June, and we could be looking at full scale organizational turnover by August.

Will Aaron Judge Stay Hot With Homers In 2023?

Sure . . . as long as MLB continues its questionable practice of sending special baseballs (juiced baseballs, to be clear (yes, you heard right)) to Yankee games . . . which happened last year, especially as Judge closed in on Roger Maris's American League single-season record of 61 dongs.

To paraphrase the Bard, when you think that your hatred and disgust for Rob Manfred is as strong as possible, you find out you can always hate him a little more.

Regardless, 2023 will see the much-anticipated return of Perennially-Injured Judge.

(I admit to enjoying Arson Judge. A great nickname, borne from a typo!)

1 comment:

FenFan said...

Happy Opening Day, everyone!