Rick Porcello ranks among the biggest disappointment in the majors, but the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner has found a groove entering the stretch run. Porcello looks to win his fifth consecutive start when the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox open a three-game series at home Friday night against the division rival Baltimore Orioles.
A 22-game winner in 2016, Porcello was 1-9 over a 12-start span before his current winning streak, although he has failed to pitch six innings only once in his last 23 outings. Mitch Moreland homered three times in the last two games as Boston split a four-game set against Cleveland to remain 4 1/2 games in front of the New York Yankees atop the AL East. Third baseman Manny Machado is doing his part to keep Baltimore relevant in the postseason chase with seven homers and 16 RBIs over the past 10 games, including a pair of walk-off blasts. Rookie Trey Mancini snapped out of a slump versus Oakland by going 4-for-10 for the Orioles, who are three games out of the second wild-card.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 5.00 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (8-14, 4.48)
Hellickson won his Orioles’ debut on Aug. 2, tossing seven scoreless innings after he was acquired from Philadelphia, but his performances have regressed in each of his last three starts. He followed up a quality start at the Los Angeles Angels by giving up six runs at Oakland and was throttled by the Angels last Friday, yielding seven runs and a career-worst five homers. Mookie Betts is 5-for-5 with a home run against Hellickson.
Porcello extended his winning streak with six strong innings against the Yankees on Sundy, allowing one run on a season low-tying three hits. The sinkerballer has lost both starts against the Orioles this year despite permitting a combined five runs and 13 hits over 12 innings. Machado has homered six times versus Boston this season, including one in each of Porcello’s two starts.
1. Orioles LHP Zach Britton, who had his AL-record streak of 60 streak saves halted Thursday, had an MRI exam that revealed swelling but no structural damage in his left knee.
2. Red Sox 3B Eduardo Nunez went 6-for-14 with two homers and seven RBIs over the past three games.
3. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop is batting .356 with three homers and eight RBIs versus Boston this year.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Orioles 4