It’s been an odd summer for the Red Sox. They hovered around .500 until July, a month in which they went 15-8 to place themselves firmly in the playoff discussion. But a subpar August (13-15) torpedoed those hopes, and now it looks like they may need to hold off the Yankees in order to avoid another finish at the bottom of the AL East. The final stretch of the season includes seven games against these Orioles.
A healthy Alex Verdugo will help in that effort. Hamstring tightness has caused him to miss a few games in a row, but he’s avoided an IL stint. He’s expected in the lineup this weekend, and Boston could use him. The outfielder has been one of their most valuable all-around players.
Some names you won’t see this weekend due to injury include Jarren Duran (left toe), Corey Kluber (shoulder), Pablo Reyes (shoulder), and Adalberto Mondesi (ACL) among others.
Make no mistake, though, this is still a lineup that can bang a little bit. They are eighth in MLB in runs scored, seventh in slugging percentage, and eighth in on-base percentage. Triston Casas has had an impressive rookie season with his team-leading 131 OPS+. And of course there is the ever-dangerous Rafael Devers, who hasn’t been quite as productive as you expect, but remains a threat with his .847 OPS, 124 OPS+, and team high 29 home runs. Not to mention a few other above-average hitters in Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida, and Justin Turner.
It’s been a long time since these two division foes last saw one another. The Orioles took two out of three from the BoSox at Camden Yards in late April. in the final game of that series Tyler Wells started on the mound and Terrin Vavra was the left fielder. Many of the other names in the Orioles lineup that day have been remarkably stable, although the .686 OPS for Gunnar Henderson has certainly see a facelift.
Game 1: Friday, September 8th, 7:10 p.m., MASN
RHP Kyle Bradish (10-6, 3.03 ERA) vs. RHP Tanner Houck (4-8, 5.07 ERA)
You cannot say enough good things about Kyle Bradish. He is performing like one of the best starters in the game. Since August 1, he is yet to allow more than three runs in a start, and he is almost a guarantee to finish six innings. However, his only other start against Boston this year was a disaster: 2.1 innings, seven runs, eight hits on April 25.
Houck season has been a battle. A facial fracture suffered on a ball hit back at him on the mound cost him more than two months of the summer. When he has been healthy, the performance is lacking. In the three starts since coming off the IL he has a 5.14 ERA/5.47 FIP over 14 total innings. The O’s have scored six earned runs over 10 total innings against him this season.
Game 2: Saturday, September 9th, 4:10 p.m., MASN
RHP Jack Flaherty (8-8, 4.84 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Sale (6-3, 4.46 ERA)
Flaherty’s stint with the Orioles has been poor. He has only finished six innings once, and that came in his very first start on August 3. In total he has a 6.66 ERA/5.03 FIP in an Orioles uniform. With John Means nearing a return the Orioles likely need to open up a spot in their rotation, and Flaherty could be the low man with another bad outing.
This is not the Chris Sale of old. But he’s no slouch either. The southpaw has essentially become a league average starter, but his 3.67 FIP and 11 strikeouts per nine are all markers of the talented hurler he can still be.
Game 3: Sunday, September 10th, 1:35 p.m., MASN
RHP Grayson Rodriguez (5-3, 4.91 ERA) vs. RHP Brayan Bello (11-8, 3.61 ERA)
Rodriguez has seen his ERA drop from 7.35 in late May to 4.91 here in early September. The rookie has been fantastic. The only question continues to be around his innings limit, or if he even has one? The Orioles aren’t showing their hand on that, so right now he looks to be in line for pitching some important postseason innings a few weeks from now.
This Boston rotation would be in some trouble without Bello. While some of his peripheral numbers are a tad underwhelming, his top line stats are solid. He leads the team in innings pitched, and both his ERA and ERA+ are the best of any qualified member of the staff. The 24-year-old has certainly carved out a role for himself on the 2024 Red Sox and beyond.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Red Sox?
This poll is closed
0 (get swept)
3 (do the sweeping)