Payback Tour 2010 heads to Boston as the Baltimore Orioles look to take out all their frustrations this month on the division foes that have administered years of beatings. The Orioles started the year 11-37 against the AL East, but since the last day of August the club has won 9 of 15 games within the division. The Tour is sure to make tears flow on the faces of Red Sox fans more than the Sam Adams Lager flows at the local drinking establishments. The Orioles have put word out AL East and the rest of the division is helpless to stop it.
That reminded me of a rant I once read on a UVA message board about how they were going to ascend to the mountain top now that with Al Groh at the helm. While I have no such belief that the O’s are about to climb the mountain, it has been fun to watch them play better within the division. The Orioles only managed to take 1 out of 3 from the Yankees this weekend, but they have given clear indication that they will not end the season with a whimper like passed seasons. And they have been taking games from both Tampa and New York functioning as a spoiler in games both clubs expected to win.
What do the Orioles need to do well to win a series in Boston. The Red Sox are for the most part out of contention for a play-off spot, so the Orioles might have an advantage in motivation. The Sox are also limping to the finish as the year has been filled with injury. It is a credit to their club that they have stayed within in a shout of a play-off spot despite the injuries. The Orioles also run out two pitchers who are throwing the ball fairly well in Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen, and even Kevin Millwood has thrown better of late. It has been particularly fun to watch Matusz mature as a pitcher. He has really turned it on in the last 2 months and turned his season around and is another player that has stepped it up since Buck Showalter’s arrival.
The Orioles hitters will have to contend with three quality arms. The Orioles do catch a break in missing John Lester, but the series will feature a match-up against Clay Buchholz who has been the Sox most consistent and arguably best starter this year. The Orioles trend of clutch hitting and some timely power has helped them stay warm over the passed two weeks. While not tearing the cover off the ball, the team continues to find ways to score and take advantage of their opportunities. Oriole hitters will need to continue to work counts and see lots of pitches. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are key in this series. Both have had strong second halves and can do some damage in Boston.
Here are the pitching probables:
Tonight, 7:10pm MASNHD
Brian Matusz (8-12, 4.68) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5, 4.82)
Tuesday, 7:10pm MASNHD
Brad Bergesen (7-10, 5.03) vs. Clay Buchholz (16-7, 2.48)
Wednesday, 7:10pm MASNHD
Kevin Millwood (3-15, 5.14) vs. John Lackey (12-11, 4.63)