In the 2023 season, the Orioles have been on track to achieve an even 81-81 record. However, in their recent game against the Red Sox, they suffered a highly regrettable defeat that is hard to put into words.
The Orioles were in a favorable position with two outs in the ninth inning and a pop fly that had a mere 1% chance of becoming a base hit. However, Ryan McKenna, one of the Orioles’ players, failed to catch the ball, making a costly error.
This is a situation that every team hopes for when the opposing team has an easy pop-out, and the ball is caught effortlessly.
Unfortunately, in this instance, the ball slipped out of McKenna’s glove and hit the ground, putting the tying run on base and allowing the winning run to come to the plate.
Despite Félix Bautista’s efforts, the Orioles’ closing pitcher, who had struggled in the two previous games, was unable to overcome the error. Ultimately, Adam Duvall hit a walk-off home run, and the Orioles lost 9-8 in a game that they had once led 7-1.
The 2023 regular season schedule is quite extensive, with two games accounting for only 1.23% of it. As a result, the sample sizes are relatively small, and it’s challenging to identify patterns from such a limited amount of data.
While some problems have occurred in both games, they aren’t yet considered patterns that may persist for the Orioles.
One of the critical issues the team has faced is the brutal outfield defense displayed in the first two games. Each of the starting outfielders made at least one error that cost the Orioles a run.
Although Ryan McKenna’s mistake in the second game was the only one counted as an error, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays made two such errors, and Anthony Santander made mistakes in the first game as well.
The team’s poor defense makes it challenging to evaluate any other aspect of their performance. Although the Orioles have given up 18 runs in the first two games, at least seven of those runs should have been prevented with competent defense.
It’s unclear whether these issues are unique to the opening games in Fenway or if they will persist throughout the season. If the latter is the case, the team will soon face a crisis point where corrective measures must be taken. The Orioles cannot afford to give away games or make easy games stressful regularly.
One of the best things about baseball is the opportunity to start anew each day, but it can also be a double-edged sword. The Baltimore Orioles have the chance to leave Boston with a series victory if they can win the final game today.
A win today would be a significant accomplishment, as winning an AL East series on the road is no small feat. However, if they lose, Saturday’s defeat will sting even more.
Cole Irvin will take the mound for the Orioles in the 1:35 pm Eastern finale as they try to bounce back from the previous loss.
It will be beneficial if the team can find a starting pitcher who can go six innings, which has not happened in the first two games. This is precisely why they acquired Irvin.
On the other hand, Tanner Houck, who had a 3.15 ERA in 60 big league innings last year, will pitch for Boston. The Orioles will have to bring their A-game if they hope to secure a much-needed victory.