The Red Sox shutout the Orioles Friday and Saturday, 7-0 and 8-0, respectively, in the first two games of Boston’s final 2015 home series.
It was the first back-to-back shutouts of the Orioles by the Red Sox at Fenway since September 17-18, 1968. Since then, Boston has achieved similar shutouts wins four other times, but always as a visitor in Baltimore.
Not surprisingly, shutouts have been relatively rare for Red Sox pitching this season. These two most recent were their 8th and 9th of the season. 18 of the 30 major league teams have more shutouts than the Red Sox, with the Dodgers collecting the most, 20, thus far.
This weekend’s back-to-back shutouts by Sox pitching marked their first such pair of games against any team since April 23-24, 2011. Those games came facing the Angels in Anaheim. For two such games at Fenway, you have to go back to the magical season of 2004, when the Red Sox held the Rays scoreless for two on April 28-29.
The Red Sox club record for consecutive shutouts over the past 100 season is three, most recently on April 25-29, 2004 against the Yankees and Rays. The last time Boston achieved that feat against a single club was when they blanked the Blue Jays in three straight, August 24-26, 1990.
Breslow’s special moment
Saturday’s continued strong finish to the season for the Red Sox included a unique achievement: Craig Breslow‘s first-ever major league start after 522 games as a reliever.
Breslow, who got the call as Boston looks to conserve Eduardo Rodriguez for 2016, went a strong, career-high 4.0 innings pitched, allowing two hits and two walks, but no runs. Breslow’s previous career record for innings pitched was 3.2, more than 10 years ago.
In what Interim Manager Torey Lovullo later called “one of those special moments,” Breslow became the first pitcher to make his first major league start as late as his 523rd career game since the Cardinals Troy Percival did so in his 639th game in 2007. No lefty has done it since the Orioles Chuck McElroy started in his 604th game in 2000.
At age 35 years, 49 days, Breslow passed Scott Atchison as the oldest ever Red Sox pitcher at the time of his first career major league start.
With Breslow unlikely to go deep in the game, Lovullo called on Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, Alexi Ogando, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez, and Jonathan Aro, in succession to nail down the win. It was the first time in the last 100 years that the Sox used at least seven pitchers in a shutout victory at Fenway Park, though they managed a similar feat at Tampa Bay in 13 innings earlier this month (September 13th).
After the game Boston’s newest starter admitted he enjoyed himself, if only in retrospect. “Now that it’s done, and it went pretty well,” Breslow said, “it was a lot of fun. At the time [though], I was consumed by other thoughts.” When asked if he’d be up for another start, he said he would, though he knows that opportunity may not come again.