Another extra inning game, which was the third one in major league baseball on Thursday.
After overcoming the Rays in extra frames earlier this week, the Red Sox could not push past the Orioles for their second game and a half win.
Here are the four bases:
First Base: The Red Sox may be tired of long games, but they have to give a better showing than they did in extra frames than they did last night. Not only did they not collect a walk the entire game, but the only base runner in extra innings was a Jacoby Ellsbury on a catcher interference call. A team has to get base runners in extra frames, especially on the road, in order to have a chance.
Second Base: Andrew Miller has been so frustrating to watch. There are days where he can not find the strike zone, but then there are days that he strikes out half the batters he faces. That strikeout of Nick Markakis was fierce, a 97 MPH heater up in the zone. He is slowly turning into a lefty-specialist, and it feels like John Farrell is trying to avoid that transition as much as he can.
Third Base: There is no question that Félix Doubront gives up a lot of base runners (he averages 1.62 hits and walks per inning). That quality is OK, if you leave them on base. Sometimes Doubront can give up eight hits and a walk and allow just one run. That does not happen with the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position last night , and that resulted in three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. After making progress with his efficiency, Doubront took a little step back; his next start will be pretty big for his development.
Home Plate: Speaking of questions, it might be time to ask whether Will Middlebrooks is cut out to play third base. He recorded his eighth error at the hot corner last night, which is now most on the team. He has a -4.4 ultimate zone rating at third base, which is worse than Pedro Ciriaco had in his time in Boston. With Xander Bogaerts now in AAA-Pawtucket, Middlebrooks now has pressure, offensively and defensively, to play better on both sides of the ball.
Beyond the Diamond… Mike Napoli left the game in the third inning due to an illness, and Mike Carp took over at first base. Carp then came out of the game for Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava replaced Carp at first base. If that does not highlight the Red Sox’s versatility, I don’t know what does.
(Photo Courtesy of Gail Burton/Associated Press)