Red Sox vs. Orioles Series Preview: Bad blood

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11: J.D. Martinez
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11: J.D. Martinez /

The Red Sox and Orioles tango for the first time this season. Will more fireworks explode between these two teams?

The Red Sox (10-2) host the Orioles (5-8) for a four-game series in Fenway. The teams enter the 2018 clash coming off heated exchanges last season.

The bad blood between these two teams boiled over last season when Manny Machado took an aggressive slide toward Dustin Pedroia at second base. As a result, Pedroia was injured and Machado was nearly beaned by Matt Barnes.

It wasn’€™t me, it was them,€ Pedroia said to Machado from the dugout.

Fast forward to the series at Fenway, and Machado is thrown at by Chris Sale in retaliation for Dylan Bundy hitting Mookie Betts the night before. Tensions spilled all over again and Machado sounded off to the media after Sale threw behind him.

Teams have since claimed the ill feelings toward each other have passed, and both are ready to get back to baseball. The Red Sox are coming off a small brawl against the Yankees, and the last thing they need is another on-field scuffle. Despite the entertainment in brawls, playing a clean, competitive series would be in Boston’s best interest.

The Red Sox are coming off a statement series against the Yankees, where they took two out of three games. The offense will be without Xander Bogaerts who remains on the DL with a foot injury, and Pedroia is shelved until sometime in May. Hanley Ramirez will be questionable with a bruised wrist.

The Orioles enter Fenway in a bit of an offensive scuffle, where they fell to the Blue Jays two out of three times in the series. However, don’t expect their woes to continue, as the O’s offense always pushes Red Sox pitching to their limit.

Pitching Matchups

Friday, April 13 at 7:10 PM Eduardo Rodriguez (0-0, 7.36 ERA ) vs. Chris Tillman (0-2, 8.68 ERA)

Saturday, April 14 at 1:05 PM TBA vs. Alex Cobb (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Sunday, April 15 at 1:05 PM€“ Chris Sale (1-0, 1.06 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (0-1, 1.35 ERA)

Monday, April 16 at 11:05 AM David Price (1-1, 2.40 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50 ERA)

Series Notes

  • Rodriguez had an odd debut in his return from the disabled list, allowing five hits and three runs over 3 2/3 innings, but the lefty struck out seven. Can he give the Red Sox at least five innings in this outing?
  • Rodriguez is 3-5 with a 4.67 ERA against the O’s.
  • Tillman is looking for his first win since last May.
  • Tillman, who allowed nine runs on 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings in his first two starts, is 10-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 21 career starts against the Red Sox.
  • Cobb signed a four-year contract worth $57 million on March 21, makes his O’s debut. He has a 5-1 record with a 3.15 ERA in seven starts at Fenway Park.
  • Bundy is 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in six career appearances (three starts) at Fenway Park.
  • Cashner will make his second career start in Fenway. He allowed five runs in five innings last season in Boston for the Rangers.
  • Machado hit six home runs against the Red Sox last season.
  • The Red Sox hit zero grand slams last year; they’ve hit three through 12 games this season.
  • Craig Kimbrel has yet to give up a run this year.

Three Keys To Victory

  • Limit the damage by Machado: The Red Sox must avoid letting Machado impact the game. The Orioles’ offense goes as far as Machado takes them, and the Red Sox starting pitching can’t give up homer after homer to him like they did last year. Six home runs is completely unacceptable.
  • Bullpen must hit its stride: Aside from Kimbrel, every relief pitcher has been nerve wracking at times. The Red Sox must avoid seventh and eighth inning implosions and find a way to get the ball to Kimbrel in the ninth with the lead.
  • Limit early inning deficits: Against the O’s, the Red Sox often put themselves in early deficits. Avoid early-inning bombs and walks, and the Red Sox will have an opportunity to win every game. Odds are, the offense will eventually strike for Boston, but the key is to not play catch-up the whole game.

Next: Red Sox Review: Questioning the decision to pinch-hit with Sandy Leon

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