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Orioles-Red Sox series preview: a heated rivalry renewed

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Can we expect any more fireworks between these two teams?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy! These two teams get to face off again and re-engage in more dumb baseball shenanigans. The last time the Red Sox and Orioles met, you may recall, Manny Machado was thrown at (again), then hit two home runs and Kevin Gausman was tossed out of a game for plunking someone with a curveball. But a lot has changed since then.

Both teams are trailing the Yankees for the lead in the American League East. However, they are each in the thick of the Wild Card race. The O’s are coming off of a series win over New York after losing seven games in a row. Boston is on a roll, winning three straight series and eight out of the last 10 games.

The Red Sox’ .345 OBP is tied for the best in the league. Their .271 batting average is third in baseball, but their .416 slugging percentage is only 14th in baseball. All three of those numbers are better than the O’s.

The biggest advantage for the O’s in this one is that the four-game set is being played at Camden Yards, where they are 17-8. That’s tied for the best home record in the junior circuit.

Game 1: Thursday at 7:05 pm, MASN, MLBN
Wade Miley (1-3, 3.02 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (4-1, 2.77 ERA)

In a matchup of surprisingly effective lefties, it would appear the advantage goes to the former Orioles prospect, Rodriguez. He is striking out 9.6 hitters per nine innings and allowing just 6.7 hits in the same time frame. After yo-yoing between the minors and majors the last two years, it looks like the 24-year-old is here to stay.

Rodriguez powered through six scoreless innings against the O’s back on April 23 when he just one hit and struck out seven, but he walked five. That outing was a part of six consecutive quality starts for the youngster.

For Miley, it’s quite simple. He needs to stop walking everyone. The current rate of 5.2 per nine innings is a ticking time bomb. Granted, he has been much better on that front recently, but with the drop in walks has been a rise in runs allowed. No matter what, Miley has been the O’s most consistent starter outside of Bundy.

Game 2: Friday at 7:05 pm, MASN, MLBN
Alec Asher (1-3, 3.77 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (3-6, 4.21 ERA)

The dreaded “fifth starter spot” for the Orioles comes up once again. Asher gets another crack at it despite allowing six runs in just two innings of work against the Astros last time out. It’s likely deserved, though. He has been solid out of the bullpen and, let’s be honest, there don’t seem to be any better options in the organization.

Asher has seen these Red Sox twice already this season. On April 23, he threw one scoreless inning of relief. And on May 2, he did well to give up just three runs in a six-inning start, but took the loss in opposition of Chris Sale.

The defending AL Cy Young winner, Porcello, is looking more like what we have come to expect from him in his career. But he is striking out more hitters than ever before (9 K/9) while also giving up the most hits (11.6 H/9) of his career. The 88 hits he has allowed in 68.1 innings is the most in baseball.

Porcello took the hard luck loss against the O’s back on May 1 when he went six frames and gave up just two runs on five hits and seven strikeouts.

Game 3: Saturday at 7:15 pm, FOX
Dylan Bundy (6-3, 2.89 ERA) vs. David Price (0-0, 5.40 ERA)

Can Bundy just pitch every inning of every game? The righty has felt like the only reliable hurler for most of the season. Out of his 11 starts, 10 have been “quality”, meaning they last at least six innings he allowed three or fewer runs.

Three of those starts came against Boston back on April 12, 21 and May 1. Combined in those games, he is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings of work, striking out eight, walking seven and allowing 18 hits.

This will be Price’s second start after returning from an elbow start last week. Against the White Sox on May 29, he allowed three runs on two hits, two walks and four strikeouts over five innings and 90 pitches. He may still have some restraints on him this time out. So, the O’s should look to work the count and may Price work to get outs. Hahahahahahahahaha! Whew! Needed a laugh. Anyway...

Game 4: Sunday at 1:35 pm, MASN, MLBN
Chris Tillman (1-2, 5.87 ERA) vs. TBD

How bad did Tillman look on Tuesday? It seemed like he was serving up batting practice to the Yankees en route to allowing five runs on seven hits, including three home runs, two walks and a strikeout in just 2.2 innings of work. Ugh. Prior to that, he had been solid, yet far from spectacular, for the O’s since returning from an injury of his own.

As of yet, Boston has not announced a starter, but this is Sale’s turn in the rotation. There shouldn’t be any reason that he misses out. And why would he? The lanky lefty dominated the Orioles on May 2, striking out 11 and allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.

That said, he had his worst start as a Boston player last time out when he return to face his former team, the ChiSox. In just five innings, he gave up 10 hits and allowed five earned runs while striking out nine and walking two.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    0 (get swept)
    (7 votes)
  • 14%
    1
    (29 votes)
  • 50%
    2
    (100 votes)
  • 22%
    3
    (45 votes)
  • 9%
    4 (sweep the series)
    (18 votes)
199 votes total Vote Now