Believe it or not, the Red Sox are one of the only teams the O’s have had success against this season. They are 4-2 against the Sox so far and look to build on those victories in their three-game set at Camden Yards this weekend. It may be a little tougher this time around because the O’s have to face Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey in consecutive starts, all of which are pitching well. And with the way the O’s are hitting, or not hitting, they’re going to have a very hard time manufacturing runs. The O’s exploded for 20 runs in the last three-game series against the Sox, but have only scored 14 runs during their current eight-game losing streak. Facing three starting pitchers that have 19 wins between them is not what the O’s want to see right now.
Friday, June 4, 7:05 pm
Red Sox – Clay Buchholz (7-3, 2.73 ERA)
Orioles – Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
Tillman had a solid performance against the Blue Jays in his first start since being called up from Triple-A Norfolk. He allowed six hits and just two earned runs, both of which were solo home runs, while walking two and striking out three. One of Tillman’s biggest downfalls last season was giving up the long ball (15 allowed in 65 innings). He lucked out in his last outing because nobody was on base when the ball left the park, but it is definitely something he needs to fix, and soon. Buchholz has been the most consistent Red Sox starting pitcher this season. He has given up two earned runs or less in his past four starts and is holding opponents to a respectful .250 batting average. Buchholz has started seven career games against the O’s and is 4-2 with a 4.21 ERA in those outings. The most memorable of those starts came on Sept. 1, 2007 when he threw a no-hitter against the O’s at Fenway Park.
Saturday, June 5, 7:05 pm
Red Sox – Jon Lester (6-2, 2.97 ERA)
Orioles – Jeremy Guthrie (3-5, 3.84 ERA)
Lester struggled in his first two starts of the season, giving up 16 hits and 11 earned runs in just 11 innings, both losses. But it didn’t take long for him to turn it around. Since then he has pitched 51 innings, giving just nine earned runs and lowering his ERA from 8.44 to 2.97. Lester has a history of being an Oriole-crusher, especially at Camden Yards where he is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six career starts. If Guthrie could avoid pitching in the first inning, he would be set. In his most recent start against the Blue Jays, Guthrie allowed three runs in the first inning, which raised his ERA in that inning to 6.54. This was his main problem last season (7.99 ERA in 2009) and obviously he hasn’t figured out how to fix it yet.
Sunday, June 6, 1:35 pm
Red Sox – John Lackey (6-3, 4.95 ERA)
Orioles – Brian Matusz (2-6, 5.28 ERA)
Lackey isn’t the dominant pitcher the Red Sox are paying $18.7 million for him to be. He is prone to giving up double digit hits and multiple earned runs and doesn’t strike out many batters (39 in 67 1/3 innings). But the Red Sox just seem to win when he’s on the mound. In his last outing, he gave up a career-high 12 hits along with four earned runs against the Athletics, but still earned the win. The O’s tagged Lackey for 10 hits and three runs back on Apr. 24, but once again, Lackey earned the win. Matusz was the recipient of some bad luck in his last start against the Yankees, giving up three runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings. His only mistake was a fifth-inning Curtis Granderson solo home run. The other two runs came as a result of a Miguel Tejada throwing error in the sixth. The strong performance against a dominant opponent was a good sign for Matusz, though, as his last two starts before that were less than stellar.
Submitted by Steve Giles