Series Snapshot: Baltimore Orioles


Baltimore Orioles @ Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park

Boston, MA

Baltimore Orioles

Regular Season Record: 19-20, in AL East (3.5 GB)

Boston Red Sox

Regular Season Record: 20-20, 3rd in AL East (3.0 GB)

Fresh off a 3 game sweep of the hated New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox return home to welcome the Baltimore Orioles for a mini 2 game series. Now that the Red Sox have reached the .500 mark for the first time all season, the goal now is to not fall back below that mark and rather climb above it for the first time.

Standing in their way of doing so are the vastly improved Baltimore Orioles. Buck Showalter’s crew may sit in last place in the air tight AL East, but they sit just 3.5 games out of first and just a half game back of the Red Sox. They recently went down to Tampa Bay and took 2 of 3 from the division leading Rays and prior to that they swept the Seattle Mariners. This Orioles club is not to be taken lightly as the Red Sox found out in mid April when Baltimore took two of three against Boston at Camden Yards.

Tale of the Starter’s Tape:

Monday, May 16 RHP Chris Tillman (2-3, 6.15 ERA) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 4.64 ERA)

Tillman is one of those young arms the Orioles are sculpting for the future. The 23 year old righty from California has been a little inconsistent this season but was brilliant in his last start against Seattle. Tillman went 6 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits en route to his second win of the season. His start prior to that, in Kansas City, the Royals roughed up Tillman for 8 runs on 10 hits in just 3.2 innings.

Lifetime against Boston – 0-1, 27.00 ERA. He collected 2 strikeouts in just 1.1 IP

Dice-K will be pitching on seven days rest thanks to a day off that allowed manager Terry Francona to re-shuffle his starting rotation. Matsuzaka’s last start against Minnesota resulted in his third win of the season, despite giving up 3 runs in the first inning. He would settle down after that and only allowed one more run over the next 5. Red Sox fans will be curiously watching to see which Dice-K shows up tonight. He’s shown flashes of brilliance this season, including a stretch where he only allowed 2 hits and no runs in 15 innings of work. Other starts he’s looked lost on the mound and take his last start which was a little bit of an up and down, but effective when it mattered.

Lifetime against Baltimore – 4-3, 5.73 ERA. He has 48 strikeouts in 48.2 IP

Tuesday, May 17 LHP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (2-5, 8.01 ERA)

Much like Tillman, Zach Britton is another one of those young arms that is the future of the Orioles. He’s gotten off to a great start to the season and should have picked up his 6th win of the season in his last outing but because the offense took a night off, Britton is still with 5. Against Seattle, the 24 year old threw 9 scoreless innings and only surrendered 3 hits in the no decision. The left handed rookie has the lowest ERA amongst the Orioles starters, despite only having 29 strikeouts in 52.0 innings of work. His season high for strikeouts in a game is 6 which happened all the way back on April 3, his first start of the season. His last and only start against Boston resulted in a win, when Britton went 6.0 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits.

Lifetime against Boston – 1-0, 1.50 ERA. He has 2 strikeouts in 6.0 IP.

This will mark the first time Lackey will take the mound since he’s tweaked his wind up and delivery.  The rate he was going, lackey really had nothing to lose by tweaking his mechancis.  He had a stretch of 3 games where he appeared to be the Lackey of old.  But he’s lost his last 3 starts and most notably, his last 2 were a complete disaster.  He went as far as to say in his post game comment that everything in his life sucks right now, leading many to believe that he’s going through some personal matters.  If that’s the case his home life is certainly affecting his performance at the ball park and it is well past alarming.  17 runs over his last 10.2 innings of work is unacceptable at any level, let alone the Majors.  Let’s hope Lackey has had time to get his personal life in order and that it transaltes into his mind and arm being in unison on Tuesday night.

Lifetime against Baltimore – 10-4, 3.05 ERA.  He has 88 strikeouts in 118.0 IP.

Red HOT Sox:

Adrian Gonzalez the slugging first baseman continues to tear it up at the plate. His most recent work came against the Yankees where Gonzalez hit 2 more home runs, his only 2 hits in the series. They were good enough for 5 RBI which takes his season totals to 34, only second to Ryan Howard (35) in the Majors. On the season he’s batting .319 and leads the team with 9 home runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury despite having his hitting streak end at 19 games, the speedy centre fielder has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games. Over his 10 games, Ellsbury is batting .378 with 4 RBI and 4 stolen bases. For the season, he’s managed to get his average up to .299, after a slow start that saw his BA sit below .200 for much of April.

Cold as Ice:

John Lackey – Big John has lost his last 3 starts and his last two he’s shown anything but Major League caliber stuff. Combined, his last 2 outings Lackey has gone 10.2 IP, given up 17 earned runs on 19 hits. He’s walked 8 while striking out only 2. He’s seen his ERA balloon to 8.01 and has all of Red Sox Nation wondering if he’s better off in the bullpen.

Who’s Hot in Baltimore:

Vladimir Guerrero – even though Vladdy doesn’t have any homers and only 1 RBI in his last 10 games, he is getting the hits that is helping his team win. During those 10 games, Guerrero is hitting .316 and has only struck out 3 times.

Kevin Gregg – the closer for the O’s has been lights out as of late. In his last 10 appearances, Gregg has a microscopic ERA of 0.90, while collecting 6 saves. He’s gone 10.0 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 4 hits, walking 6 and fanning 7.

Who’s Not in Baltimore:

Brian Robertsafter a hot start to the season, the Orioles leadoff man has struggled as of late. In his last 10 games, Roberts is batting a mere .146 with 0 runs batted in and only 1 stolen base. This is a player who is most dangerous when he’s on base and as of late he can’t wreak havoc with his speed when he’s not getting hits. Roberts may not be happy to see the Red Sox as it was around that point in April that he started to struggle. In that series against Boston, he went just 1 for 11. He did walk once which resulted in a stolen base that led to him scoring.

The Walking Wounded:


Junichi Tazawa (P) – 60-day DL, torn ulnar collateral ligament – could being rehab assignment in late May.  Return in July

Bobby Jenks (P) – 15-day DL with right biceps strain. He’s scheduled for first catch session on May 16 with a return possible in June.

Dan Wheeler (P) – 15-day DL with a calf strain. Made a Triple A rehab appearance on May 14 and could return to the big club on May 20.

Marco Scutaro (SS) – 15-day DL with injury to left side. He underwent MRI on May 8 and may return mid-May.


Brian Matusz (P) – 15-day DL with a Intercostal strain. He’s scheduled for Class A rehab start on May 16 with a return date of mid-May.

Justin Duchscherer (P) – 60-day DL with lower back discomfort. He’s scheduled for a simulated game on May 18 with a return possibly on May 30.

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