A couple of really tough losses for the Red Sox to end the series with the Orioles. The first series loss of 2013. But the Red Sox are still in first as we begin Friday, tied with Baltimore at 5-4.
Joel Hanrahan melted down in the ninth inning on Wednesday, after three stellar innings by the pen. He allowed five runs in the 8-5 loss, and got hit hard on the opener on Monday as well, but managed to get the save then. He's allowed three home runs in his first two Fenway games as Red Sox closer, and that is a concern.
But John Farrell won't do anything foolish. Hanrahan is the closer, but he'd better get his stuff together. Already we've heard people saying Andrew Bailey should be closing, but that is way too premature. Hanrahan will have his blown saves, like all closers do. Heck, Mariano Rivera has never had a perfect season in his career, as he is supposedly the greatest closer of all-time.
Alfredo Aceves gave the Red Sox five good innings last night, allowing two runs and left with the game tied. he will get the start next week against the Indians in Cleveland on Tuesday while John Lackey is on the DL. The bullpen has been tagged with the last two losses, but it is still a Red Sox strength.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is really struggling at the plate, and figures to be heading to Pawtucket by April 19th, when David Ortiz returns from his rehab assignment at AAA. He got off to a good start there last night, going 2-for-3 in the Pawsox' opening night win. Bradley is still a big part of the future, and getting his stroke back at AAA will really benefit him long term.
And finally "The Streak" ended at 794 on Wednesday night. That was the so-called "sellout streak", which the Red Sox claim that every game since May 2003 was sold out at Fenway. Like most other fans, I never cared about that at all, and it had become an albatross that needed to end. And now fans can come to the ballpark and buy some affordable tickets at the box office just moments before a game begins. And that's a good thing. And most of those fans will be there to see baseball, not be there because it's the "cool" place to be.
The Sox begin four games with Tampa Bay this weekend, ending with the Patriots Day game on Monday at 11:05 AM.