The Boston Red Sox will try to start a new winning streak and inch closer to clinching the American League East when they visit the Baltimore Orioles on Monday for the opener of a three-game series. The Red Sox had won three in a row before dropping a 3-2 decision at Tampa Bay on Sunday while managing just three hits.
Boston remained three games up on the New York Yankees in the AL East and has a magic number of five to clinch a playoff spot. Boston played again Sunday without designated hitter Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) and lost right fielder Mookie Betts, who is day-to-day after leaving with a thumb contusion due to a collision at first base. The Orioles snapped a three-game slide with a 6-4 win in Yankee Stadium on Sunday, but they have a 5 1/2-game deficit to overcome in the race for the AL’s second wild card. A pair of right-handers enjoying late-season success meet in the opener when Boston’s Doug Fister opposes Dylan Bundy for the hosts.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Doug Fister (5-8, 4.40 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.03)
Fister has surprisingly worked his way into potential postseason rotation discussions amid a solid run, although he hit a snag last time out against Oakland. The Fresno State product had posted a 1.50 ERA through his previous four starts before giving up six runs in four frames versus the Athletics. He limited the Orioles to two runs in seven innings Aug. 27 and has a 4.24 ERA in 10 career encounters (nine starts) with Baltimore.
The Orioles are being careful with Bundy’s workload down the stretch and he will be making just his second start in a span of 14 days. He has won five of his last six decisions and boasts quality starts in six of seven outings. The 24-year-old faced the Red Sox four times in the first two months of the season and held them to seven runs in 25 1/3 innings.
1. Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-12 over his last two games.
2. Baltimore swept three straight at Fenway Park last month by a combined margin of 25-4.
3. Orioles LF Trey Mancini has three doubles, one triple and one home run during a seven-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4