The season has been long enough for the Boston Red Sox. Now the games are dragging out without much success to accompany them.
After getting officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Red Sox now are just trying to gain some level of pride during the final stretch of the season.
Bostonhopes to begin that late-season turnaround on Tuesday against the visiting Baltimore Orioles, who still have playoff aspirations.
The Red Sox were forced to endure long rain delays each of the past two nights. The results were a rain-shortened, 2-0 road loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday followed by a 14-8 whipping from the Orioles on Monday in the series opener.
"We've just got to get better," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whose team has lost six games in a row. "You got to show up."
The 100-minute rain delay Monday night simply added to the misery for the Red Sox, who gave up at least one run in seven of the nine innings. Boston pitchers contributed to the Orioles' success by issuing eight walks.
"I think overall pitching-wise, we've got to be more aggressive in the zone," Cora said. "That's something we haven't done in a while."
Boston (72-81) needs to win its final nine games to finish the season .500.
The Orioles (80-73) hold a 9-7 edge in the season series with Boston, so they will go for the clincher in that category on Tuesday. In four of the wins against the Red Sox, Baltimore posted 10 or more runs.
That's quite an accomplishment for an Orioles offense that went through a stretch of the season struggling to produce runs.
Baltimore right-hander Kyle Bradish (4-7, 4.65 ERA) is set to start Tuesday, looking for a second straight strong outing. He fired 8 2/3 shutout innings against the Houston Astros on Thursday, striking out 10 without walking a batter.
"He's got his fastball going two different ways now, and when it's 96-97 (mph) and it's going left or going right, with the sinker, it's just super hard to hit," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "They can't stay out over the plate on him anymore.
"And his breaking balls are so good that he can throw both of them and get swings and misses. ... He's just really learning how to pitch."
Bradish has seen his confidence rise since struggling earlier in his rookie season. In his past six starts, he is 3-2 with a 1.64 ERA.
"When you've got four or five pitches working for you, it's pretty easy out there," Bradish said.
Bradish has struggled against the Red Sox, going 0-3 with a 5.31 ERA in four starts.
The Orioles adjusted their bullpen, recalling right-hander Logan Gillaspie and optioning left-hander Keegan Akin to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday. Gillaspie pitched the final 2 2/3 innings in the series opener at Boston, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits.
The Red Sox will hand the ball to right-hander Michael Wacha (11-1, 2.70 ERA), who will try to match the second-best win total of his 10-year career.
Wacha has worked at least six innings in each of his past six starts, posting a 3-0 record during that stretch. One of the victories came Sept. 10 at Baltimore, when he lasted six innings and gave up three runs for his second win against the Orioles of 2022.
Lifetime against Baltimore, Wacha holds a 2-1 record with a 4.89 ERA in eight starts covering 35 innings.
--Field Level Media