The Boston Red Sox aim to string together a winning streak against a Baltimore Orioles sitting in the basement of the division.
The Boston Red Sox (29-14) wrap up the current homestand with a four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles (13-29).
The Red Sox lost ground in the division race by dropping two out of three against the Oakland A’s this week. They enter the day a half-game behind the New York Yankees, owning one more win but falling two games back in the loss column. Boston has to be able to win a series against a team with a losing record, especially at home.
A visit from the O’s gives the Red Sox a chance to pad their record with a few more wins before they head out on the road. Baltimore owns the American League’s third-worst record this season and has already fallen 16 games behind the Yankees in the division.
Boston swept the three games against Baltimore when the O’s came to town in April before the last game of the series was rained out. That postponed meeting will be made up on Thursday to kick off this series, depriving both teams of a previously scheduled off day.
Sunday, May 20 at 1:05 PM: Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 4.68 ERA) vs TBD
- Baltimore has yet to announce a starter for the finale on Sunday. Struggling starter Chris Tillman was placed on the disabled list with a back strain last week. Right-hander David Hess made his big league debut last weekend and could be in the mix to stay in the rotation.
- Rafael Devers becomes the 15th player to appear in 100 games with the Red Sox before turning 22 years old. The only other Red Sox to do that in the last 50 years are Xander Bogaerts and Dwight Evans.
- Mookie Betts (.353) and J.D. Martinez (.344) enter the series with the top batting averages in the AL. They are also first and fourth respectively in OPS. Mitch Moreland (.319) would find his way into the top-10 in both categories if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
- As much as Red Sox fans agonize over the bullpen, Boston’s relievers rank a respectable fourth with a 3.66 ERA. The overall pitching staff is second in the league with a 3.67 ERA.
- The Red Sox own a +66 run differential that puts them a tick ahead of the Yankees (+65). Only the Houston Astros (+94) have been better in the majors. Baltimore’s -59 is fifth-worst in the majors.
Three Keys to Victory
Break out the bats. The Orioles pitching staff is 13th in the league with a 5.06 ERA. Boston scored 20 runs over three games when these teams last met. Gausman is their only starter with an ERA south of 4.50 this season. He’s yet to face the Red Sox this year but his career numbers against them (4-6, 3.83 ERA) haven’t been great. Boston should be able to put up some crooked numbers against this pitching staff to build momentum heading into their next road trip.
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Take advantage of mistakes. The Orioles have committed 32 errors this season, second-most in the league. They are dead last in the AL with -37 defensive runs saved. Machado was a Gold Glove third baseman until he transitioned to being one of the lowest rated shortstops in the league (-5 defensive runs saved). This is not a good defensive team. The Red Sox must make the sloppy O’s pay when they gift them a free baserunner.
Stick with BoSox Injection throughout this series for more analysis, opinions, and updates as the Red Sox aim to reclaim first place in the AL East.