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J.D. Martinez, Red Sox Fall to Orioles 7-4 in Series Finale Amid Pitching Woes

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2020

Baltimore Orioles' Anthony Santander, center front, celebrates a two-run home with Rio Ruiz, left, and Chance Sisco, behind right, as he returns to the dugout in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

The Baltimore Orioles opened the 2020 MLB season with a series win over the Boston Red Sox, picking up a 7-4 victory at Fenway Park on Sunday.

The Red Sox hammered the Orioles 13-2 on Opening Day before suffering a 7-2 defeat on Saturday. Considering Baltimore is widely expected to be one of MLB's worst teams, this isn't the way Boston will have wanted to start the year.

Rio Ruiz got things started for the Orioles with a two-run home run in the first inning.

Baltimore Orioles 😷 @Orioles

Rio has a thing for homers this weekend. https://t.co/Dpy1IH63up

Baltimore hitters combined for 10 hits and five extra-base hits as they had Boston's number for the second consecutive game.

            

Notable Stats

Wade LeBlanc, SP, BAL: 5.2 innings, four hits, four earned runs, four strikeouts

Ryan Weber, SP, BOS: 3.2 innings, six hits, six earned runs, three walks

Jose Iglesias, SS, BAL: 4-of-5, one run, one RBI, two doubles

Hanser Alberto, 2B, BAL: 2-for-4, one run, one walk

Anthony Santander, RF, BAL: 1-for-4, two runs, two RBI, one home run

Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS: 1-for-4, two RBI

Christian Vazquez, C, BOS: 2-for-4, one run, one RBI, one home run

            

Anthony Santander Delivers with Bat, Glove

Santander broke the game open in the fourth inning when he golfed a low changeup over the right field fence to make it 6-1 in favor of Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles 😷 @Orioles

Heads up bullpen! https://t.co/aKgH7TxnqL

In the bottom half of the inning, the Orioles right fielder might have taken a run off the board. Xander Bogaerts hit a slicing liner to right that looked like it was headed for the seats. Santander made sure that wasn't the case with an impressive grab as he jumped into the wall.

Baltimore Orioles 😷 @Orioles

We feel like we've seen this before 🤔 https://t.co/8RAXw3hoUu

He also made a diving catch on J.D. Martinez to rob the three-time All-Star of a hit in the sixth inning. Back-to-back doubles brought two runs home for the Red Sox later that inning, and the damage might have been worse were it not for Santander.

MLB Venezuela @MLBVenezuela

¡ANTHONY SANTANDER! 👀 #MLBVenezuela 🇻🇪 https://t.co/leNaSqIYmS

FanGraphs gave the Orioles only a 1.7 percent chance of reaching the postseason entering Sunday. Fans may not have much to cheer about this season. But at least they'll be able to watch some young talent that includes the 25-year-old Santander.

           

Pitching Woes Continue for Red Sox

The Red Sox couldn't have predicted Chris Sale undergoing Tommy John surgery or Eduardo Rodriguez testing positive for COVID-19, but even at the time it felt like they were undervaluing David Price. He was a proven starting pitcher and not necessarily the kind of asset a team dumps for salary relief.

Though he ended up opting out this season, he left a hole in the rotation that the team never replaced. On Sunday, Ryan Weber had a regrettable outing and was pulled after Santander's home run.

Christopher Smith @SmittyOnMLB

Ryan Weber is getting shelled. 6-1 Orioles. This is one of the worst lineups he'll face this year. He's the No. 3 starter right now.

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn

When I said the Orioles should be relegated to the International League, I meant to say that Ryan Weber should. We regret the error.

Alex Speier @alexspeier

Weber issued a career-high 3 walks, allowed the third-most runs (6) he's ever given up in an outing, tied a career high by allowing 2 homers, and didn't strike out a batter in 3 2/3 IP.

There's always the fear of panicking too early into a season, but the Red Sox don't have the luxury of a full 162-game slate to iron out whatever issues are plaguing their rotation.

The obvious problem is that their starting options simply don't look very good, especially until Rodriguez returns.

Zachary D. Rymer @zachrymer

I feel like the Red Sox should be paying us to watch their starting pitching.

Considering ownership's edict to reduce payroll—thus leading to the departures of Price and Mookie Betts—reinforcements probably won't be coming in the form of midseason trades.

It could be a long year in Boston. 

           

What's Next?

The Orioles have two games in South Florida against the Miami Marlins, while the Red Sox host the New York Mets for two games.

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