Closing Time: John Lackey, Red Sox turn in uninspired performances in losing to Orioles

Rob Bradford
April 18, 2014 - 6:37 pm

The Red Sox continue to hardly resemble the world championship team of a year ago. This time their 8-4 loss to the Orioles was a combination of poor starting pitching, uninspiring defense, and the continued inability to mount significant offensive rally. Perhaps the biggest concern coming out of the loss for the Red Sox was the second straight subpar performance by starter John Lackey. This time Lackey allowed six runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Perhaps most surprising were the four walks he issued, the most free passes by the righty since July 12, 3013 (the only time last season he walked as many as four). The was almost identical to his previous outing, against the Yankees, in which Lackey gave up the same number of hits and runs, but while retiring one more batter. Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 10th loss of the season. (They didn't manage their 10th defeat in '13 until May 4): WHAT WENT WRONG - The Red Sox were faced with adversity right at the very first pitch, with Nick Markakis' looper down the left field line being ruled a fair ball for a leadoff double. Even though the replay appeared to show the ball landed just foul, the umpires told Red Sox manager John Farrell the view was inconclusive. Markakis would ultimately score on Adam Jones' two-out single. - Lackey allowed the first runner to reach in five of his six innings. - While no errors were charged to the Red Sox, their defense proved shoddy behind Lackey. The most egregious misplay came in the fifth inning when first baseman Mike Carp let Matt Wieters' grounder go underneath him for an RBI single. - While every member of the Red Sox starting lineup collected at least one hit, they also stranded 11 men. The Sox came into the game having stranded the third-most runners in the majors despite possessing just the 21st most total bases. - Reliever Edward Mujica had his second straight tough outing, this time allowing the Orioles to tack on an eighth run thanks to Jonathan Schoop's fourth hit of the night (an RBI double). WHAT WENT RIGHT - A.J. Pierzynski threw out his third basestealer of the season (in 11 attempts), gunning down Matt Wieters by a healthy margin to end the second inning. As a team, the Sox catchers have caught four of their opponents 16 attempted basestealers. - Pierzynski, who came into the game just 1-for-15 with men in scoring position, helped the Red Sox add a third run by placing a single into center to score Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia kicked off the scoring in the inning with an RBI single of his own, scoring Daniel Nava. - Xander Bogaerts continued to impress offensively, reaching base three times thanks to an RBI single and a pair of walks. He did, however, get thrown out trying to stretch his seventh-inning blast off the left field wall into a double, limiting the Sox' rally. - Brock Holt showed great hustle in busting it down the line to beat out a routine ground ball, leading off the eighth inning. Holt was initially called out, but after going to the replay the umpires ruled the third baseman safe.