Some losses are harder to take than others. Wednesday's defeat at the hands of the Orioles ranks right up there with the worst of them.
It's not just that the Red Sox are now 0-5 against the Orioles in Fenway Park. It's not that the loss was their third straight, or that it dropped them to .500 again. It's not even that Robert Andino was once again center stage--has ever there been a player who does so little except when facing the Red Sox?
No, it's that Wednesday the Red Sox outplayed the Orioles and lost.
Josh Beckett and Wei-Yin Chen will appear to have fairly similar lines in the box score, but that does not accurately portray their performances. Both lived all night in the strike zone, but while Beckett was keeping hitters off balance and inducing weak ground ball after weak ground ball, Chen was watching rockets come off the Boston bats.
The results, unfortunately, were similar in terms of actual production. Boston's rockets found Baltimore gloves time and again, and while the same was true of Beckett's ground balls, he had all his bad luck group together. Two of the very few ground balls that found holes did so in the sixth, and combined with an at bat which saw Beckett get in on the hands of Robert Andino only for the infielder to bloop a single into right field, it was good for a pair of runs when he could easily have gone nine without the way he was pitching.
For Wei-Yin Chen it was more spread out. Three innings saw the Red Sox get good contact against him, but the worst part of his pitching was spread out enough to keep all but one run off the board.
This is not to say that the Orioles are a weak team riding luck to the top of the division. Games like this happen for and to every team in the game. Last night was just the Red Sox' turn.
Too bad that knowledge doesn't make the loss any easier to take.