The highly anticipated four game series started between the Red Sox and Orioles got under way Monday night. The Manny Machado slide that spiked Pedroia on a double play attempt heated up this division rivalry. After flamethrower Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head in the following game, it started to really get intense. A screaming match between Manny and Pedroia captured by NESN was the last image fans saw before the previous series had ended. Baltimore came into this series 2.5 games ahead of Boston and looked to add on to the lead. So far they’ve done just that.
Baltimore took full advantage in game 1. It started with Manny Machado. When announced in his first at-bat, he received huge boos from the Fenway crowd as expected. What wasn’t expected was Machado hitting a 400+ ft. shot that towered over the Monster. As he admired it, Red Sox fans booed while he circled the bases. Defensively, he was a stud too. Making every play at third base and robbing multiple Red Sox players of hits. Smirking after just about every play, he knew he was winning the battle.
As for the Red Sox third baseman, it was the complete opposite. Marco Hernandez looked like a little league role player after two errors in two consecutive innings. First, bobbling an easy double play ground ball that ended up costing the Red Sox a run. Then, overthrowing Mitch Moreland at first in the following inning on a play where he had the runner beat by multiple steps. Although he wasn’t the only one. One of the Ferrell Favorites, Heath Hembree fielded a double-play ground ball that was hit directly back to him on the mound. Having plenty of time to throw it, he missed Xander Bogaerts by approximately 10-15 feet as the ball rolled into center field. The rookie standout Andrew Benintendi, who leads the team in just about every hitting category also contributed to the 3-error eighth inning by missing catcher Sandy Leon on a throw home that would have nailed Adam Jones at the plate if it was on target.
Not only did Baltimore have their way at the plate, they had there way on the mound too. Orioles starter Dylan Bundy went 7 scoreless innings before he got into trouble in the 8th. Even after what seemed like a mismanagement by Buck Showalter by keeping him in, it proved to work out after yet another bonehead mistake by the Sox. Hanley Ramirez on the “Hanley Chain Night”, hit a ball to the wall. With Benintendi literally standing on second base, Hanley hustled to second only to find the base already occupied. The move cost the Red Sox an out and the O’s managed to get out of the inning. Buddy easily got through 7 scoreless innings, but also managed to get revenge in the process. Beaning Mookie Betts in the sixth inning. Whether you think this is intentional or not, you can definitely make a case either way. Sure he brought up the tying run in Hanley Ramirez, but this was also the third straight pitch he threw inside on Betts. After Bundy hit him there was no remorse shown and there was no reaction from the umpire.
Regardless of intent, the O’s managed to get back at a Red Sox star, and there was no retaliation.
Now comes the Adam Jones story. If you haven’t already heard the story, Jones claims there were many racial taunts directed at him and objects also being thrown at him. I was at the game Monday, and sitting pretty close behind the Baltimore dugout. Personally, I didn’t see one person get ejected or hear any type of racist comments. However, with accusations this serious, I’m not going to call this guy a liar. There was a bag of peanuts thrown at him and there is really no excuse for that. If these accusations are true, Sox fans should be ashamed. Regardless of the heat of the rivalry, fans should never bring race into it. If there was around 60 ejections as Jones claimed then that is also a serious issue. With Boston’s history of racism throughout the years, this will be another story ESPN and the rest of the media will dive in to. Baltimore is making the Sox look bad, but the Boston fans and players are also making themselves look pretty bad.
60 ejections, racial taunts, letting your teammates get hit and getting easily outplayed leaves some serious questions going into the second game Tuesday night. Right now it doesn’t seem like Boston has many positive things going for them. Even if Chris Sale answers back tomorrow and the Red Sox pick up a win, not everything will be fixed. This Adam Jones problem will be something the Red Sox will not be forget about for a while. Baltimore got the upper hand on game one and they’re not going away any time soon.