Game 13: Baltimore Orioles at Red Sox (April 13, 2018)

Division rival Baltimore visited Fenway Park for the first time tonight to open a three game set. I had to coach my son's rec team tonight and then I took my oldest daughter to the cages to get some swings in, so I only managed to watch the last half of the game before watching highlights from the first few innings. 

The Orioles have been pesky over the last few seasons although coming into 2018 they look to be on the downward slope and not in contention. Every game against the O's in recent years irritates the hell out of me for a variety of reasons: I hate the way they play the game with their home run or bust approach to hitting and manager Buck Showalter is one of the most arrogant and smug guys in the game. Every time I watch the O's, he acts like he invented baseball which I find amusing considering the guy hasn't ever won anything as a manager. Anyway, tonight the Sox had Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound and he pitched six innings, striking out eight and only giving up a single run in the first. He's been one of those guys over the last few seasons who can look really great but can never put it together over the course of an entire season. Whether it's down to consistency or injuries, he's been very up and down. I'm hoping this is the year he can take the next step because he certainly has all the talent to make it happen. Offensively, the Sox got on the board early with four in the first, capped off by a 3-run homer from Eduardo Nunez. The O's got a couple back in the seventh, but the Sox easily kept them at bay and finished off the victory, 7-3. The bats stayed hot, especially Nunez, JD Martinez, and Rafael Devers, and once again the pitching was excellent.

The Sox have three more games on this homestand against Baltimore before they head to the west coast to take on the Angels (who are playing very well). This 11-2 start has been great to watch, especially because even in years in which they have great teams the Sox tend to start slow. Their red-hot start is something we haven't seen from this team in a while and while the talent level isn't much higher than it's already been over the last few seasons, it's very noticeable that the culture around the team is much better. I have to believe a huge part of that is due to Alex Cora. In any event, it's made for some of the most entertaining early season baseball I can remember in a long time.