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Closing Time: Inconsistency continues for Red Sox in latest loss 04.26.15 at 4:50 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox‘ starting pitching roller coaster keeps on rolling.

This time the group’s downturn came in the form of Wade Miley’s 2 1/3-inning horror show. This time the lefty second sub-three-inning outing of the season led to a 18-7 Orioles rout of the Red Sox.

Miley was forced from the start in the third inning, in which the hosts put up a six-spot on the scoreboard. The Sox starter was ultimately charged with seven runs (six earned) on five hits and two walks. His ERA now stands at 8.62, having not pitched past 5 2/3 innings in any of his four starts.

It marks the sixth time in 19 games the Red Sox starting pitcher has allowed five or more runs. The rotation carries a 5.94 ERA, worst in the major leagues, with Joe Kelly leading the way with a 4.08 ERA, followed by Clay Buchholz (4.84), Justin Masterson (5.16) and Rick Porcello (6.48).

The loss hands the Red Sox a 2-4 road trip, having won the first game of both their series against the Rays and Orioles before dropping the final two. The Red Sox starters finished the two-series swing with a 5.31 ERA, coming away with three quality starts.

The Red Sox head home out of first-place, standing at 10-9, as Tampa Bay (11-8) holds that top stop, which has won five straight after losing its season opener to the Sox.

Not helping matters was the ineffective work of the bullpen after Miley, with newly-recalled Heath Hembree taking the brunt of the damage, giving up 11 runs in 6 2/3 innings. The righty let the game get out of hand, giving up six runs in 1 1/3 frames.

It marked the fifth straight game the bullpen gave up at least one run. For the road trip, Sox relievers pitched 20 2/3 innings and allowed 17 runs on 31 hits.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The entire Orioles lineup. The group batted around twice, with every starter but one coming away with a multiple hit day.

Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ latest loss:

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, wade miley,
Closing Time: Brock Holt’s 3-run homer snaps tie, leads Red Sox over Orioles 04.24.15 at 10:39 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

Through the first 16 games of the season, the Red Sox have made it a habit to capitalize on their opponents mistakes.

Friday was no different, as the Red Sox were given an extra out on a Manny Machado error with two outs in the eighth inning and the next batter, Brock Holt, made him pay with a three-run home run. The homer snapped a 4-4 tie and gave the Red Sox an eventual 7-5 win over the Orioles.

Pablo Sandoval worked a two-out walk and then pinch-hitter Allen Craig’s grounder got by Machado at third, which was ruled an error. Holt then stepped in and belted a three-run home run over the wall in right. It was his first homer of the season.

With a three-run lead, Junichi Tazawa allowed a solo home run to Chris Davis in the eighth, but fortunately it was just a solo home run and then Koji Uehara came on for a scoreless ninth to pick up the save.

It was an up-and-down outing for Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who made it into the seventh inning, but couldn’t record an out. He allowed the first two batters to reach and was pulled in favor of Craig Breslow. Breslow allowed one of the inherited runners to score, which tied the game at four.

Porcello went six-plus innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out seven. For the first time this season he didn’t eclipse the 100-pitch mark, as he was removed after throwing 91 pitches. He was given a two-run lead going into the fifth, but allowed single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to take a no-decision.

The Red Sox have now won all six series openers this season.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Holt. His home run snapped the four-all tie in the eighth inning. He finished the game 2-for-4 and is now hitting .424 on the year.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, rick porcello
Red Sox-Orioles series preview at 11:38 am ET
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The Red Sox and Orioles split their four-game series last weekend at Fenway Park. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox and Orioles split their four-game series last weekend at Fenway Park. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox will make their first trip of 2015 to Camden Yards for a three-game weekend series with the Orioles starting Friday night. The two teams split their first series of the year at Fenway Park last weekend. Boston currently is in a three-way tie for first in the AL East, but the top and bottom spots in the division are separated by just two games.

Despite the division lead, the Sox have struggled on the mound and have not had the offensive consistency many expected at the beginning of the season. The pitching staff is ranked 23rd in the league with a 4.31 ERA, 13th with a 1.26 WHIP, and 11th with a .239 batting average against. No Red Sox starter has an ERA below 4.00, and Joe Kelly (4.08) and Clay Buchholz (4.84) are the only starters with an ERA below 5.50.

Boston’s bats have been able to win some games for the team, but have yet to live up to what was expected of them. They are tied for sixth in baseball with 77 runs and tied for 10th with 15 home runs, but there have not been enough base runners to expect this productivity to continue. The Sox are ranked 19th with a .230 team average and 18th with a .669 OPS. Just two Red Sox hitters (Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts) have averages over .263 and only three (Holt, Bogaerts, Ryan Hanigan) have OBPs of at least .350. Over the last seven days, just Holt and Hanigan have an average over .250.

Hanley Ramirez is tied for second in the American League with five home runs.

Shane Victorino is listed as day-to-day with hamstring tightness.

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Red Sox,
John Farrell, Buck Showalter know their teams will be at each other all season 04.20.15 at 10:31 pm ET
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John Farrell speaks after a rain-shortened win over Baltimore on Patriot's Day. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

John Farrell speaks after a rain-shortened win over Baltimore on Patriot’s Day. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

From the moment Buck Showalter‘s Orioles shocked the Red Sox and helped complete the greatest collapse in baseball history in 2011, the Orioles and Red Sox have been at each other’s throats.

In 2012, the Orioles eliminated the Rangers in the AL wild card game, taking the Yankees to the limit in five games before bowing out in the ALDS.

In 2013, the Red Sox won the World Series. In 2014, the Orioles won the AL East and made it to the American League Championship Series before bowing out to the Royals.

Now, the two AL East rivals appeared poised to battle each other over the long course of the season for supremacy in their division. Entering Monday’s series finale, the two teams stood at 7-5 after the Orioles won two of the first three games.

The first three games featured equal parts gamesmanship and respect from Showalter and Red Sox skipper John Farrell. So, when the Red Sox pulled out a 7-1 rain-shortened win to split the series and head to Tampa Bay with some first-place momentum, Farrell was happy to provide some very early season perspective on the Orioles and the rest of the division.

“Big win? “Sure it is. They’re a good team,” Farrell said. “I would imagine we’re going to be neck-and-neck with most everybody in this division throughout. And anytime you can come away in the final game of a series to earn a split, whether it’s home or road, it sends us off on a positive note. We’re going to end up right back there at the end of this week, going up against them for three.

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Buck Showalter, John Farrell
David Ortiz blasts Jim Palmer over critical tweets: ‘All of sudden, he’s killing me, huh?’ at 4:33 pm ET
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David Ortiz has a bone to pick with Jim Palmer.

The hall of fame pitcher and long time Orioles broadcaster criticized David Ortiz on Twitter Sunday after he flipped his bat and dropped it at the plate after a check-swing that was call strike two by third base umpire Jerry Meals.

Meals yelled at Ortiz long distance and Ortiz returned the favor. When home plate umpire John Tumpane (filling in for Paul Emmel) interceded, Ortiz got in Tumpane’s face and was ejected.

Palmer tweeted: FINALLY Oritz gets tossed with hashtags that included #ZipitOrtiz and #disrespectful. Then, early Monday, Palmer tweeted another not-so thinly veiled shot at Ortiz: O’s fans: Marathon day in Boston. What’s the over under on Ortiz going 9?

Ortiz, asked about Palmer by ESPN’s Gordon Edes after Monday’s rain-shortened 7-1 win, didn’t hold back.

“Actually, I thought he was one of my guys,” Ortiz said. “All of sudden, he’s killing me, huh? I guess anybody who want to get paid, make some noise and come to Papi, right? All right.”

Edes then attempted to provide some perspective and context to the tweet on behalf of Palmer, suggesting Palmer wasn’t hating on Ortiz.

“Oh no?,” Ortiz said, before offering some advice to Palmer, “I don’t need your help. [If] he wants me to respect him, it ain’t going to happen.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Jim Palmer
Closing Time: Red Sox take advantage of Orioles mistakes in rain-shortened Patriots Day win at 3:07 pm ET
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Justin Masterson allowed a run over five innings to pick up the win against the Orioles. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Justin Masterson allowed a run over five innings to pick up the win against the Orioles. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox lineup is dangerous with the standard three outs. Give them more than three outs is asking for disaster.

Taking full advantage of getting extra outs, the Red Sox rolled to a 7-1 win over the Orioles on Patriots Day at Fenway Park. The game was stopped because of rain the the middle of the seventh inning at 1:25 p.m., and officially called at 3:08 p.m.

Baltimore committed three errors leading to five unearned runs.

The Red Sox batted around in the third inning, scoring five unearned runs, while only recording one hit in the frame. Orioles Starter Wei-Yin Chen misplayed a Mookie Betts come-backer allowing the first run to score, and then later in the inning with two outs, third baseman Manny Machado misplayed a Shane Victorino grounder down the line allowing two more runs to score.

“The errors kid of gift-wrapped or built into the four-run inning along with some base on balls were built into the four-run inning along with some base on balls,” manager John Farrell said. “At this level you get extra outs you’re asking for trouble and it’s happened to us defensively. Hopefully we stay on the positive side of it.”

Chen went 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (all unearned) on just three hits, but he walked five.

Red Sox starter Justin Masterson delivered his best start of the season, allowing one run over five innings, while picking up six strikeouts. His fastball averaged in the high-80’s, but he was able to have success with a good slider keeping the Orioles hitters off balance.

“He battled the elements and was able to use his fastball-slider combination effectively,” Farrell said. “I think the most impressive thing was he had a couple of long innings and he was still able to come out and get loose and keep the feel of the baseball on a day where the conditions probably weren’t the greatest.”

The Red Sox improved to 69-51 on Patriots Day and have won 11 of the last 15 since 2001.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Betts. The center fielder once again was a spark plug at the top of the order, giving the Red Sox momentum from the start, stealing second, taking third on an error and scoring the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. He went 1-for-4 overall, but reached base twice while scoring two runs.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, justin masterson, mookie betts
Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman take swipes at ‘forever’ pace of Clay Buchholz 04.18.15 at 11:37 pm ET
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Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves (far left) visits with starter Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning Saturday. (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves (far left) visits with starter Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning Saturday. (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz has earned a reputation as one of the slowest pitchers in baseball with runners on base. The Baltimore Orioles felt the Red Sox pitcher Saturday reached a new low – or long – as he slowed the game down to a crawl in the fourth and fifth innings.

Buchholz threw 30 pitches in the fourth, when the Orioles loaded the bases twice but could only score twice. That inning also featured four throws to first and a coaching visit to the mound. It took over 20 minutes to record three outs. But to Buchholz’s credit, he limited damage to two runs by getting of the jam with strikeouts of Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce.

In the fifth inning, it was another tedious inning for Buchholz. He loaded the bases with none out. But a 3-2-3 double play sped things along and then Ryan Flaherty struck out. No runs. Amazingly, Buchholz allowed 11 hits over his six innings, taking 102 pitches to complete his day’s work.

But Orioles manager Buck Showalter couldn’t believe that the two half innings by Buchholz took nearly 40 minutes of the three hours, 24 minutes it took to complete the game. More annoying to Showalter was the impact it had on his starter Chris Tillman.

“Let’s put it this way, Chris was good, had good stuff,” Showalter said. “I think he was challenged by the tempo that was set by things out of his control. Wow. I think it kind of froze things up there a little bit.”

Tillman confirmed the observation of his manager when asked how long the delays in between innings felt like with Buchholz on the mound.

“Forever. I couldn’t even tell you how long they felt. They felt like forever,” Tillman said.

“There were a couple of innings there where he’s sitting around for 20, 30 minutes over here,” Showalter said. “It’s cold and we finally found a couple of heaters. It took him a little while to get loose. It’s sad in a way because he had stuff to go deep in that game. We needed at least five or six innings.”

The reason the Orioles felt they needed five or six innings from Tillman was the untimely ejection of Friday starter Ubaldo Jimenez in the fourth inning.

“They had the four-corner stall going there,” Showalter said. “It’s tough to keep concentration. It’s really tough. It seemed like Buchholz had thrown 120 but he had only thrown 80 or 90. It’s all about getting that last base touched and we weren’t able to do it.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s mentally tough,” added Tillman. “It’s more physically challenging. I’ve been in that situation enough to prepare myself in the dugout to go back out to make pitches from the get-go. First couple of times it was tough.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman
Shane Victorino scratched with sore ribs, Daniel Nava starts in RF at 3:24 pm ET
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Looks like Shane Victorino did pay a price for going after that fly ball in right field Friday night.

Victorino was scratched an hour before Saturday’s game with sore ribs. He was replaced in right field by Daniel Nava, batting seventh.

The Victorino situation appeared encouraging at the start of the day when the outfielder was in the starting lineup, one day after he had one of his trademark collisions with the short wall at the Pesky Corner in right. Victorino made a futile attempt to catch Caleb Joseph’s solo homer in the fifth inning Friday night.

He was shaken up and on the warning track for nearly a minute before getting back to his feet. He stayed in the game and was penciled in the lineup for Saturday before the late scratch.

(Update: Here is what Red Sox manager John Farrell said regarding Victorino after the Red Sox’ 4-1 loss to the Orioles – “When he hit the wall, he made a great effort to try to bring back a home run. The left rib area was sore here today. He was no go. We’€™ll check him in the morning on his availability.”

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the adjusted lineup for the Red Sox:

1. Brock Holt, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Mike Napoli, 1B
7. Daniel Nava, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, MLB
Red Sox starting lineups Saturday: Mookie Betts sits, Brock Holt gets the call in center at 1:56 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

John Farrell chose Saturday to give Mookie Betts his second off day of the season.

Starting in center Saturday in place of Betts will be Mr. Super Sub, Brock Holt, getting his second start in center this season and leading off. In addition to two starts in center, Holt has started one game at short and one at third base.

The rest of the lineup remains basically in tact, including right fielder Shane Victorino, who will bat seventh.

The Victorino news is encouraging after the outfielder had one of his trademark collisions with the short wall at the Pesky Corner in right, making a futile attempt to catch Caleb Joseph’s solo homer in the fifth inning Friday night. He was shaken up and on the warning track for nearly a minute before getting back to his feet. He stayed in the game and apparently had no ill effects overnight.

Ryan Hanigan will catch right-hander Clay Buchholz, who was beaten up by the Yankees in his last start last Sunday in New York. Baltimore will counter with right-hander Chris Tillman.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

1. Brock Holt, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Mike Napoli, 1B
7. Shane Victorino, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, Chris Tillman
Red Sox-Orioles series preview 04.17.15 at 12:22 pm ET
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Adam Jones (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Adam Jones is tied for first in the American League with 11 RBIs. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Red Sox continue their homestand with a four-game set against the Orioles starting Friday. Boston has started the year having won its first three series for the first time in the designated hitter era. They have taken two of three games from the Phillies, Yankees and Nationals to start the season.

The first time through the rotation for the Sox was a pleasant surprise for fans as each starter recorded a quality start and looked good on the mound. In four games since then, however, the starting pitching has left a lot to be desired. Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson and Wade Miley combined for just 10 1/3 innings in their second starts, while Rick Porcello provided the lone bright spot with his eight-inning victory. As a whole, Boston’s pitching could do with some improvement. It is ranked 28th in the league with a 4.75 ERA and 29th in runs allowed with 50.

The offense has made up for the inconsistent pitching with 56 runs and 54 RBIs, both of which are best in baseball. The Red Sox offense also is in the top 10 in hits (89), triples (2), home runs (11), steals (7), average (.253), walks (41) and on-base percentage (.340). It has scored at least five runs in all but two of its first nine games, and has not lost when scoring more than five runs.

The Red Sox went 8-11 against Baltimore in 2014.

Nine games into 2015, the Orioles are 5-4, tied for second at one game behind Boston. This series will mark the fourth straight against AL East teams for Baltimore, which took two of three games from the Rays, one of three from the Blue Jays, and two of three from the Yankees to start the season.

The Orioles find themselves in a similar position to the Red Sox. Their offense has been winning games for them, while their pitching has been inconsistent. Baltimore leads the league in home runs with 15, is sixth with 47 runs, and seventh in average at .270. The O’s have only been held below five runs twice, once being a shutout at the hands of Tampa Bay.

The pitching staff, on the other hand, holds a 26th-ranked ERA of 4.61 and has allowed the eighth-most home runs (10). In the Orioles’ four losses this year, opponents have scored a combined 30 runs while only putting up 16 total runs in games that Baltimore has won.

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Red Sox,
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