With another Baltimore loss, the Red Sox had the opportunity to pull within a game and a half of the Orioles for first place in the American League East. With Rick Porcello on the hill opposite of the struggling Tim Lincecum, the Red Sox were in good shape before a pitch was even thrown.
Nevertheless, as the game started, Porcello looked to be struggling and relinquished two early runs. However after the second inning, Porcello settled in nicely and started mowing batters down with his devastating sinking fastball. Porcello was able to keep the ball down, while also throwing strikes and not walking batters. Because of his superb command, Porcello had an extremely low pitch count, which allowed him to go deep into this ballgame. On the day, Porcello pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on five hits, while striking out three and walking none.
With last night's performance, the Red Sox now have three of the top eight leaders in the American League in quality starts. Porcello, David Price and Steven Wright are all tied for third in the AL with 14 quality starts. Additionally, in Porcello's last six starts, he is 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA and a measly 1.32 walks per nine innings. That $82.5 million contract doesn't look too bad right now, does it?
Offensively, the Red Sox were able to prolong at-bats against Lincecum and get his pitch count extremely high early in this game. Lincecum pitched to one batter in the sixth inning before relinquishing a home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. (17) and being pulled for Jhoulys Chacin, who finished out the game for the Angels. In the seventh inning, Xander Bogaerts was able to launch his 13th home run of the season, which is a new career-high for the promising shortstop. On the day, Lincecum pitched five innings, allowing four runs on five hits and six (!) walks. This seems to be the end for Lincecum, as his historic career seems to have taken a turn for the worse.
The Red Sox and Angels will be back at it tonight, but will play a hour earlier (9 PM ET). Check back in for a full game preview.