The third Monday in April is Patriots’ Day, an official holiday in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin, and nodded at unofficially in several other states. Schools and banks and stuff are closed there and the Boston Marathon is being run as we speak. For our purposes, we get morning baseball.
Today the Red Sox take on the Rays at 11:05AM EDT. Blake Snell gets the call for Tampa Bay, Steven Wright for the Sox. There is nothing more American than a knuckleballer in my view, so it’s good fortune that the rotation worked out this way for Boston.
There will be some differences from the usual lineup today for the Red Sox, however. Pablo Sandoval will ride pine after batting just .143 with a .196 on-base percentage through 11 games. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez is in the starting lineup despite exiting Sunday’s game with a cramp in his left hamstring. Between that and the flu, Ramirez has had a rocky first couple of weeks to the season, but perhaps morning baseball will set him straight.
The Orioles won their 19th game of the season 11 days ago. The club snapped a nine-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon, taking down the Marlins 10-4 to finally cross the 20-win threshold. Aside from the Orioles, who have baseball’s worst record (20-50), the White Sox were the slowest team to reach 20 wins, securing No. 20 on June 6 — 11 days ago, for those of you keeping score.
Mark Trumbo had three hits including a solo home run, three runs scored, and two RBI. Jace Peterson knocked in four runs, including two with a two-run homer. Starter Dylan Bundy wasn’t particularly sharp, giving up four runs over six innings, but it was good enough for the W.
Coincidentally, the Orioles’ last two wins at Camden Yards came on Father’s Day (June 17) and Mother’s Day (May 13). They were on an 11-game home losing streak.
There hasn’t been any one singular cause for the Orioles’ woes. The club has dealt with a handful of injuries. First baseman Chris Davis is having a tremendously terrible season, so much so that a Baltimore-area bar is offering free shots whenever he gets a hit. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop hasn’t hit anywhere close to the way he hit last year. Free agent pick-up Alex Cobb has a 7.14 ERA over 12 starts. Andrew Cashner has a 4.98 ERA and is on the 10-day disabled list. Zach Britton has been absent most of the season due to an injury, only recently coming back.
No one expected the Orioles to hang with the Yankees and Red Sox this season, but I don’t think anyone was expecting them to reach 20 wins in the middle of June, either.