This season, there is only one American League East team against which the Boston Red Sox have a losing record: the Baltimore Orioles. On Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox went a long way into correcting that fact, absolutely dismantling the Orioles in a 13-2 laugher. The victory on Tuesday brought the Red Sox’s season win-loss record against the Orioles to 5-6 and kept their lead atop the division intact. If they can continue to play against the Orioles the way in which they play against most teams, there will be a division title in their future.
During the contest, the Red Sox took a little time in getting the upper hand in the contest, but once they had it, they held on to it tightly enough to strangle any chances the Baltimore Orioles had of coming back. It was in the third inning when Shane Victorino’s two-run home run gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Despite getting the lead in the third inning, it was really not until the fourth inning that the Red Sox really distanced themselves from the Orioles and made the rest of the game a formality. Leading off the inning, Mike Napoli hit a solo home run to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead; hitting home runs proved to be a recurring theme for the Red Sox. After the home run, the Red Sox then managed to load the bases, but not without cost, as they did record two outs before they loaded the bases.
However, hitting with two outs was unable to daunt Dustin Pedroia, who on the fifth pitch of his at-bat, laced a ground rule double to left that scored two runs. The Orioles then intentionally walked David Ortiz to once again load the bases and to avoid pitching to one of the best hitters in the major leagues. In theory, pitching to the weaker Jonny Gomes, who is an easier out than Ortiz, was a defensible idea, but in reality, Gomes made the Orioles pay by hitting his own two-RBI double; two-RBI doubles was another recurring theme of the Red Sox.
Scoring five runs in one inning is a great way to wrap up the victory, and their run-scoring exploits in the fourth inning proved that to be the case for the Red Sox. The club went from a win expectancy of 68.0 percent at the beginning of the bottom of the fourth inning to a win expectancy of 95.4 percent by the inning’s end.
The absolutely final nail in the Orioles’ coffin was provided by Shane Victorino, whose two-RBI double in the seventh inning, gave the Red Sox a 13-2 lead and a win expectancy of 100 percent with two innings to go. Victorino also provided the Red Sox with a three-run home run in the fifth inning to put them up 11-2.
Overall, the Red Sox scored 12 of their 13 runs off a combination of home runs or doubles, with the extra-base hits arriving at the most opportune times as the Red Sox capitalized on plate appearances above and beyond what is expected. Their RE24 for the contest, which takes into account the bases and outs situation of every at-bat and provides information about how many runs a team should score, was a tremendous 8.38, which is another way to say the Red Sox scored 8.38 more runs than was expected. Almost all of the credit for that number goes to Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia.
With so many runs being scored, it is easy to overlook the pitching of the Red Sox, but the pitching definitely played a role, although not as pivotal, in the team winning the game. Doubront was masterful in Tuesday’s start, allowing just two runs in 6.7 innings of work and striking out seven of the 26 batters he faced. Doubront’s disruptive pitching kept the Orioles from stringing together enough hits to score a high number of runs.
Relief pitchers Matt Thornton and Drake Britton were dominant as well, not allowing the Orioles a single hit or a single base runner over the final 2.3 innings of the contest.
For the season, the Red Sox have been in 40 contests that Baseball Reference deems to be blowouts, i.e., a game in which the winning margin is at least five runs. Out of those 40 games, the Red Sox have won 28, with the victory on Tuesday being the latest. Winning so many blowout contests is the true sign of a truly dominant team, and the Red Sox were at the most dominant in stomping the Orioles into submission on Tuesday.