The Red Sox are in an unusual place at the end of September; they are are eliminated from playoff contention. It has been a rough year indeed for Boston baseball fans for so many reasons. Two of the biggest and most recent events include Chris Sale being shut down for the year in mid-August because of arm problems the recent firing of General Manager Dave Dombrowski, just one year after winning the 2018 World Series.
Coming into the final weekend of the season, the Red Sox have an 83-76 record, compared to the Orioles at 52-107. Boston has a +80 run differential on the year, while that number for the O’s is -259. In the past 10 games, the Sox are 4-6 and the Birds are 3-7.
At the start of play today, Baltimore has a 5-11 record against Boston this year. That includes a 71-100 run differential in those 16 games, in favor of the other guys. Orioles hitters are batting .244/.313/.402 with a .303 BABIP and .715 OPS against Red Sox pitchers so far this season. In seven game at Fenway Park the O’s batters are faring even worse, to the tune of a .219/.309/.339 slash line and .648 OPS, while they carry a .275 BABIP.
Game 1: Friday, 7:10 PM
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-0, 6.03 ERA) vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski (3-8, 5.31 ERA)
Veteran right-hander Nate Eovaldi has only made 11 starts in 2019 on account of injury and a late start to the season. The Red Sox eased him back into pitching with a bullpen role initially and in that time, he made 11 relief appearances before rejoining the rotation.
The results have not been good though. He has a 6.03 ERA overall, along with a 1.60 WHIP. He’s allowing 2.2 HR/9 and 4.5 BB/9, way up from his career marks of 0.9 and 2.9, respectively. In his lone start against the O’s this year, he allowed five runs in two innings with three walks, one strikeout and one home run allowed.
On Baltimore’s side, Wojo is still trying to recapture the magic from the first five starts of his Orioles career, when he put up a 3.60 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11.1 SO/9 and 4.63 SO/W. Those numbers were accumulated all the way back in July. In August, he had a 7.7 SO/9 ratio and 1.60 SO/W. So far in September, his SO/9 has gone down even further to 6.4, but his SO/W has increased from the previous month to 3.25.
Game 2: Saturday, 1:05 PM
RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-11, 5.81 ERA) vs. LHP John Means (11-11, 3.54 ERA)
Veteran journeyman Jhoulys Chacin, who has played for seven different teams over the course of his 11 year career, gets the start for Boston in the middle game of the series. He has a career 4.01 ERA and has played the majority of his career in the National League, where in broke in with the Rockies and pitched for six years. In 2019, he’s allowed eight runs in 12 innings between the rotation and bullpen. While he does have 18 strikeouts in that time span, he also has six walks.
Saturday will be the last time this year we will get to see Orioles’ ace John Means pitch. It has been a true pleasure to watch him this year. He has been one of the few bright spots that have made an otherwise dismal season enjoyable at times. Plus, the guy knows how to finish strong. In four September starts, he’s got a 3.51 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 4.25 SO/W. Against the Sox this year, Means is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA. In his lone start at Fenway Park this year, he allowed one run in five innings.
Game 3: Sunday, 3:05 PM
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (19-6, 3.80 ERA) vs. TBD
Former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez is on the precipice of his first career 20 win season, and the only thing standing in his way is the Birds. Rodriguez’s previous career high was 13 wins, which happened just last year. He has also pitched a career high 196.1 innings already, which is all the more impressive considering his injury history. Against the team that drafted him, the lefty is 3-0 in three starts in 2019, with a 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and an insane 8.00 SO/W.
The Orioles have yet to announce a starter for the last game of the year. Chances are it will be an opener situation or a bullpen game, whichever term you prefer.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Red Sox?
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