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Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: Why was this game even played?

Ryan Hannable
April 15, 2018 - 3:59 pm

Even though it was April 15, it felt like December 15 at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon, and the miserable conditions certainly impacted the action on the field.

At 34 degrees, it was the lowest game-time temperature at Fenway Park since April 17, 2003. It was so cold the Red Sox even offered free hot chocolate to all fans in attendance.

These fans were better off at home, not only because of the abysmal conditions, but the play on the field wasn’t what these fans paid for. 

The cold weather certainly impacted things for everyone.

Pitchers couldn't get the best grip on the ball, batters' hands couldn't even feel the bat, and in the field players had layers on every part of their body, including masks on their faces covering every part except for their eyes.

Baseball is not meant to be played in such conditions.

Sure, Monday’s game is likely going to be rained out and having back-to-back rain outs isn’t ideal for anyone, but the Orioles are in the American League East. Baltimore comes back two more times this year and the teams have a mutual off-day on May 17, the day before a weekend series begins. They also have other mutual off-days during the year and even if those didn’t work, there’s always the option for a doubleheader in either May or September.

Wouldn’t both fans and players have preferred one of those options over the awful conditions they got Sunday?

As for the actual game itself, the Red Sox came away with a 3-1 win, improving to 13-2 on the year.

Click here for a complete recap.

It’s a shame that one of Chris Sale’s 30-plus starts had to come on a day like Sunday, as there’s no way he could have been at his best. Even though it felt like the middle of winter, Sale did not wear any sleeves on the mound and gutted through five innings of work.

It only was five innings because of his pitch count — 93 pitches, something the weather had some effect on.

The left-hander allowed one run over the five innings on just two hits, while walking two and striking out eight. He only got nine swings and misses, which tied for his third-fewest with the Red Sox, the weather likely a major reason why. Sale wasn’t able to get as much velocity as he typically does, but still had command of all his pitches. Pitching in such brutal conditions certainly evens the playing field and takes away some of Sale's dominance.

“That was miserable," Sale said. "Nothing short of miserable. But, like I’ve said before, I’m probably the most warm person out there. I was just honestly trying to get the ball and go. Get my guys in the dugout as quick as I could.”

Added Sale: “Tonight was the worst. I said it when I came out of the game. This was the most miserable I’ve ever been on a baseball field by far. Not even close.”

With the game tied at one in the sixth, the Red Sox took the lead thanks to some sloppy Orioles play, with again the weather likely playing some factor. 

J.D. Martinez reached on an error, advanced to third on a Mitch Moreland double and then scored on a wild pitch. Another run was scored on a ground-rule double by Tzu-Wei Lin. Both runs were unearned.

"There was no complaining," Alex Cora said afterwards. "We knew the conditions were going to be awful, but I didn't hear too many guys, or any guys, 'What are we doing here?' They like to play. Today was different guys -- Lin, Mitch, Brock [Holt]. That's a good thing about us. On a daily basis, our lineup is going to score runs regardless of the combination we have out there. For us to play that way -- J.D. scoring on a wild pitch, Brock hustling to first base, J.D. getting on base on an error, Mitch going the other way, Lin, I could keep naming them, I love talking about them because they work hard, they enjoy the game, and they're in a good spot right now."

While the fans who braved the elements went home happy with a win, they probably would have rather had the game be made up at a later date and enjoyed a true baseball experience.

With the win, the Red Sox are 13-1 in their last 14 games, something they haven’t done over any 14-game stretch since 2006 (14-1 from 6/16-7/2).

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