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Orioles vs. Red Sox: Birds begin big series with division rival

It’s just two games, but it always feels important against Boston

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It’s good to be home! The Orioles are actually coming off a decent road trip where they went 5-5 over a trio of series in Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco. Considering the team’s season road record is 27-34, that can be viewed as a resounding success. However, it is at Camden Yards where they dominate. Their 39-17 record at home is the best in the bigs and that is where the welcome the Boston Red Sox for a quick two-game set this week.

This will be the 11th and 12th meetings between the two teams in 2016. So far, the Orioles have the advantage, winning six of the 10 match-ups. Six of those games have been at Fenway Park, with the O’s winning four of them. The other four were split during a series at Camden Yards at the beginning of June.

Boston enters this series on a hot streak having won four in a row and currently sit in third place of the AL East, 1.5 games back of first and just one game back of the O’s in second. So yeah, this is as big as two-game series get.

Everything you thought about the Red Sox from earlier in the year remains true. They have the best offense in baseball. Their .285 team batting average, .350 on-base percentage, .468 slugging percentage and 643 runs scored are all the best in the league.

On the other hand, their pitching remains suspect. As a staff, their 4.24 ERA is 18th in baseball. Luckily for the Orioles, they miss the BoSox two best pitchers: Steven Wright (13-5, 3.01 ERA) and Rick Porcello (16-3, 3.30).

The Red Sox do have a few injury concerns. Reliever Koji Uehara (pectoral), catcher Ryan Hanigan (ankle) and outfielder Chris Young (hamstring) are all on the DL.

What else do you need to know? These are the Red Sox. The Orioles play them all the time. They are awful and we need to beat them!

Tuesday, August 16th at 7:05 p.m., MASN, MLB Network

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.43 ERA) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 5.17 ERA)

The former Oriole prospect, Rodriguez, has been better recently. Last time out against the Yankees he threw seven innings and allowed juts one run. But on the whole it has been a tough year for the southpaw. He has an ERA+ of 84 and a FIP of 5.14.

Pretty similar things can be said about Gallardo. But over his last two starts he has thrown 12 innings and allowed just three runs. He’s not the most exciting pitcher to watch. He nibbles the edges of the strike zone and doesn’t post eye-popping velocity or strike outs, but he is a steady, veteran presence in that O’s rotation.

Wednesday, August 17th at 7:05 p.m., MASN 2, ESPN

LHP David Price (10-8, 4.29 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.46 ERA)

Price hasn’t been a bad pitcher, but the man is making $30 million and he isn’t producing to that level. He has an ERA+ of 106 and a FIP of 3.50. However, he was fantastic down the stretch for the Blue Jays last summer and is always a scary name to go up against.

The Orioles ace, however, is the superior pitcher this year. His ERA+ of 129 and 15 wins have him on the outer rim of the Cy Young discussion. Tillman has already beaten Boston once this year, a seven inning, one run performance at Fenway in June.

How many games will the Orioles win? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!