I suggested this morning that the Orioles might want to keep the bats on their shoulders and challenge Boston starter Clay Buchholz to throw strikes. He issued 14 walks in 20 innings this season. The plate tends to move on him.
Three of the first four Orioles swung at the first pitch tonight. Buchholz needed only seven pitches to complete the opening inning, which included Nick Markakis’ one-out single.
Manager Buck Showalter hoped that his club would strike a balance between being patient and aggressive. He suggested that the Orioles would take a good luck at Buchholz early, with the intent of jacking up his pitch count and getting into the Red Sox’s bullpen early.
Markakis was 2-for-20 lifetime against Buchholz before tonight, and was mired in a 5-for-36 slump this season that lowered his average to .208.
Meanwhile, Zach Britton didn’t allow a run or hit in his first two innings, but he’s thrown 32 pitches. The Red Sox haven’t gotten a ball out of the infield, but David Ortiz walked with one out in the second.
Instant update: Luke Scott led off the bottom of the second inning with a single on the second pitch. Buchholz had thrown nine pitches to the first five batters. However, Adam Jones worked Buchholz for 11 pitches before striking out, Mark Reynolds doubled and Matt Wieters sent a ground ball up the first base line that deflected off the bag for an RBI infield hit.
Wieters is 7-for-7 with 11 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season.
The Red Sox had strung together 19 straight scoreless innings before Wieters’ hit.