Two games into the series with the Rangers and it looked like disaster was about to strike. The Rangers came into Fenway and took the first two games of the series against the odds. However, the Red Sox pulled themselves together and managed to come out on top in the final two games. Now they head to Baltimore hoping to have another “get right” road series.
6/10 Eduardo Rodriguez vs. TBD 7:05 pm NESN
6/12 TBD vs. John Means (L) 1:05 pm NESN
Chris Sales numbers in his last two outings are simply incredible. The veteran left-hander has thrown a total of 16 innings without allowing an earned run to score. What makes it even more impressive is that in those two starts he has allowed a total of six hits and one walk, while striking out 22. He has now struck out 10 or more in eight of his last 10 starts, and has given up three or more earned runs in just two of those 10 starts.
John Means has taken the majors by storm this season. The left-handed pitcher has a 2.60 ERA in his 15 games, including 11 starts. However, he has been especially good at home, allowing just six earned runs in 34 1/3 innings. Additionally, he has also had some success against the Red Sox, allowing just two runs to score in 12 innings.
The Red Sox can feel fairly comfortable in knowing what they will get when they face Dylan Bundy on Saturday. The veteran right-handed pitcher has a 4.50 ERA in 70 innings this season. In his last 10 starts, he has allowed between 2-and-4 earned runs in eight of those, averaging around one home run allowed per outing. However, for the Orioles, his performances are significantly improved since the start of the season. As of April 16th, he had a 7.79 ERA, which he has now managed to get down to 4.50 in the subsequent 10 starts.
Camden Yards should offer a chance for the Red Sox offense to have some fun. According to ESPN’s park factors, Camden Yards ranks third in runs, and fifth in home runs this season. The pitching matchups are not the easiest, especially against John Means, but this is the park for the Red Sox hitters to start hitting their groove.
Despite having the fifth best park for home runs, the Orioles offense ranks just 20th in home runs this season. In fact, scoring runs in general has been hard, as they rank 26th in that category too. Not only should this series be a good chance for the offense to find some rhythm, but the pitchers as well.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Pitching: Once again that fifth starter spot is in the limelight. Darwinzon Hernandez and Ryan Weber have both had shots, but neither has stuck. Hector Velazquez and of course Nathan Eovaldi are on the injured list. Both will return before the end of the season, but the Red Sox are not in the luxurious position of being able to afford to give away one out of every five games with their fifth starter. Hopefully, a start against the Orioles can be the kick start someone needs to make the job their own for a little while.
Hitting: Incredibly all seven of the Red Sox runs came via the home run in the final game of their series with the Rangers. The five home runs they scored in that game were even more impressive, given they averaged just one per game in the rest of the series. The long ball has been a struggle for the Red Sox this season, as they rank just 12th in the majors. For a lineup stacked with the likes of J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Steve Pearce, and Mitch Moreland, that is extremely disappointing. Hopefully they can add a few more multi-homer games this weekend.
If the start of the Rangers series was disappointing, the way the Red Sox bounced back was encouraging. It would have been easy to have folded, especially when the Rangers jumped out to a two-run lead in the third game. However, the offense fought back in both game, and they came away with a damage control split series.
Now they need to go and cash in against the Orioles, who are the worst team in the major leagues. The Orioles sit 21-46 with a -133 run differential and having won just three of their last 10. The Red Sox will head to the red hot Minnesota Twins after this series, so it is imperative they at least take two of these three games from the Orioles