After a rough stretch in which the O’s lost seven of eight games, they bounced back nicely to take two of three from the Red Sox in Fenway, where they are 5-1 this season. Despite their recent struggles, the O’s are still tied for first in the AL East with the Rays and have the third most wins in the league with 32. They have a good chance to stay atop the division with a struggling Phillies team heading into town tonight for a three-game set. The Phillies have lost six games in a row and haven’t looked anything like the team they have in recent years. Injuries have played a big part in the Phillies’ struggles, but the O’s will surely not be feeling sorry for them this weekend. The O’s will send Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel to the mound against Joe Blanton, Vance Worley and Cliff Lee, respectively.
Pedro Strop – After allowing a run on three hits in one inning and earning his second loss of the season against the Royals back on May 26, Strop has quickly returned to form. He hasn’t allowed a run and has surrendered just one hit over his last four appearances (3.2 innings). He has earned holds in his last three consecutive appearances, two of which came in back-to-back games against the Red Sox. He now has 11 holds on the season along with a measly 1.23 ERA.
Matt Wieters – Wieters has bounced back nicely after a recent slump where he went 1-for-29. Since then, Wieters is batting .286 including a four-game hit streak where he had three multi-hit games. He is seeing the ball like he did early in the season, which the O’s need right now considering they haven’t been too hot at the plate lately.
Wei-Yin Chen – Chen dominated the Red Sox in his most recent outing where he pitched seven strong innings and guided the O’s to their franchise record seventh straight win at Fenway Park. Chen allowed one run on seven hits while striking out four and walking none. The rookie really showed his poise in the seventh when Boston had runners on second and third with just one out. Instead of going to the bullpen, Buck Showalter decided to leave it to Chen to get out of trouble. Chen answered the call, striking out Marlon Byrd and getting Mike Aviles to pop out to short right field. Chen is now 5-2 on the season with a 3.49 ERA.
Jake Arrieta – The second-year right-hander is really struggling to get batters out right now. Arrieta allowed four runs on four hits in just 4.2 innings of work against the Rays in his most recent start. He has now allowed at least four runs in five of his last six starts and has only one win in his last eight decisions. He has shown signs of being dominant in starts against the Yankees and Nationals, but hasn’t been able to command his pitches with any consistency this season.