Red Sox vs. Orioles series preview: Rivalry continues

May 28, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of Fenway Park from inside of the green monster score board prior to a game against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
May 28, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of Fenway Park from inside of the green monster score board prior to a game against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox (29-23) head to Camden Yards for a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (27-24). This is the first time these teams have met since Chris Sale threw behind Manny Machado.

The Boston Red Sox come into the series hot, winning 8 of their last 10 games. The offense has heated up during the hot streak, scoring 6.8 runs per games. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has held up and has only allowed 3.3 runs per game during the hot streak.

On the other hand, the Orioles are coming into the series ice cold. They have only won 6 of their last 20 games. At one point they lost 7 games in a row.

This series is must-watch TV as it is the first time these teams have met since the Chris Sale incident. He will not be pitching, but it will be interesting to see if the Orioles seek any retribution.

Pitching Matchups

Thursday, June 1 at 7:05 PM – Eduardo Rodriguez (4-1, 2.77 ERA) vs Wade Miley (1-3, 3.02 ERA)

Friday, June 2 at 7:05 PM – Rick Porcello (3-6, 4.21 ERA) vs Alec Asher (1-3, 3.77 ERA)

Saturday, June 3 at 7:15 PM – David Price (0-0, 5.40) vs Dylan Bundy (6-3, 2.89 ERA)

Sunday June 4 1:35 PM – Chris Sale (6-2, 2.77 ERA) vs Chris Tillman (1-2, 5.87 ERA)

Series Notes

  • Chris Sale was lights out during the month of April, but has really struggled over his last 5 starts. In those starts, he has an ERA of 4.73, a WHIP of 1.144, and has given up 4 home runs (he has allowed 6 total for the year). The silver lining is that he still had a K/9 of 13.1 and managed to go 4-0 in those 5 starts.
  • Pablo Sandoval made his return from the DL on Wednesday night against the White Sox. He made his presence felt as he went 3-for-4  with an RBI. Panda got the start at DH instead of 3B, with the Red Sox choosing to go with Deven Marrero there. This speaks to a larger issue which is that the Red Sox may never fully trust Sandoval. Farrell made it clear that even when he plays 3B, they plan on pulling him in the later innings for defensive purposes.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez has seen opposite results than those of Chris Sale. During the month of May, Eduardo has an ERA of 2.81, a WHIP of 1.03, and a K/9 of 7.9. He has been able to pitch with more consistency, which has been an issue throughout his career. He has gone at least 6 innings in his last 7 starts, and has only walked 7 batters in the month of May. While the rest of the rotation was going through their struggles, Eduardo remained consistent.
  • David Price made his season debut against the White Sox on Monday. In his start, he allowed 3 runs through 5 innings, and surrendered 2 walks on 2 hits. Price really only made one mistake pitch, which ended up being a 3-run homer. This start was encouraging because he was able to strike guys out and work out of jams. Hopefully Price will be able to feed off of this start and give the starting rotation a nice jolt.

Key Hitters

Boston Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi

2017 Season (49 Games): .266/.341/.388, 5 HR, 27 RBI

Career vs Baltimore Orioles (13 Games): .292/.340/.396, 1 HR, 8 RBI

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Benintendi has really struggled at the plate over the last month. During that stretch he has hit .217, to go along with an OBP of .313, and has slugged just .337.

We have seen what Benintendi is capable of at the plate. There are stretches where he is able to make tough pitches look easy to hit. I personally do not think he will stay in this slump, but with Pedroia out of the lineup for awhile, Benintendi needs to step his game up.

He has been moved out of the cleanup spot and into the No. 2 spot in the order. Hopefully that will get him back on track to where he was before.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado

2017 Season (50 Games): .205/.286/.405, 10 HR, 25 RBI

Career vs Red Sox (77 Games): .274/.319/.468, 13 HR, 41 RBI

Talk about another guy who has really struggled at the plate this year, look no further than Machado. During the last month, he has slashed just .191/.238/.391 and has struck out 31 times. He did hit 6 home runs, but 3 of those came against the Red Sox which was during the first few days of the month.

It has also been well-documented that he is seeing the Red Sox for the first time since the Sale incident. I doubt anything will come to fruition, especially against Machado. However, with the Orioles really slumping, it is important for Machado to get back on track at the plate and jump-start the offense. He is an important hitter to watch this series.

Next: Red Sox Prospect Watch: Production from young players

Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!