Red Sox ready to tee off against Orioles
The Boston Red Sox will take their shots at the punching bag of the American League East as they host the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game series beginning Friday.
The Orioles enter having just been battered by the New York Yankees in a four-game series. Baltimore has dropped nine of its past 10 as it makes its second-to-last trip to Boston this year.
The Red Sox have gone 8-5 in the teams' previous meetings. Right-hander Rick Porcello (10-9, 5.67 ERA) will get the nod in the opener opposite Orioles righty Aaron Brooks (2-6, 6.35).
Baltimore begins the series needing to give up just nine more home runs to break the Cincinnati Reds' 2016 record for most served up in a season (258). Orioles pitching was tagged for nine in New York this week as the Yankees finished the year 16-2 with a record 61 homers against the club.
"We don't have to play them anymore," starter Dylan Bundy said. "So I guess that's a good thing."
Not much better is having to face the Red Sox, who trail only New York by having hit 23 homers against the Orioles this year. J.D. Martinez leads the pack with four homers against the division rival.
Martinez has been on a tear of late, his 12-game hitting streak having come to an end in Wednesday's finale of a three-game road series with the Cleveland Indians. Despite an 0-for-5, he's hitting .389 with five homers and nine RBIs this month.
Rafael Devers, meanwhile, has a streak of eight straight at-bats with a hit over his past two games as Boston escaped Cleveland with a series win. Devers homered in the finale, and Xander Bogaerts added two blasts -- including the 100th of his career -- in the 5-1 triumph.
"I completely forgot it was my 100th. For some reason, I don't know why I forgot," said Bogaerts. "All the weeks before I kind of had it in my head. I think it's kind of good that I got it out of the way. I just completely forgot. I think just being in the game in that moment, I just completely forgot about that."
Despite all the offense, the Red Sox needed seven different pitchers to piece together the win. Desperate to get back into the wild-card conversation, manager Alex Cora has shown he's willing to get creative if it leads to wins.
"We put ourselves in a bad position, but we understand that we've got a shot to make up some ground," Cora said. "The season is not over. We've got a month and a half and we haven't been hot, so we'll figure it out. We've got a lot of off days and September is coming, too, so we just need people to get outs and keep moving forward."
Porcello has been fairly consistent at giving Boston at least five innings this season, though his 5.67 ERA is now the highest in baseball among qualified starters. Porcello was tagged for five runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels his last time out, but he retired 14 straight at one point of the outing.
Porcello is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against the Orioles this year. Lifetime, he's 7-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 22 outings versus Baltimore.
Brooks, added in a waiver claim last month, is still looking for his first Orioles win, having given up 23 earned runs in his first 22 innings with the club. The Houston Astros roughed him up for nine runs in three innings in his last start.
Brooks has faced Boston three times (two starts), going 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 15, 2019