The Baltimore Orioles need to make a statement this weekend if they hope to remain in the wild card race, and they certainly gave a strong indication on Friday that they intend to do just that. The Orioles will try to follow up one drubbing with another when they visit the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox in the second of a three-game series on Saturday.
Baltimore wasted little time attacking reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello on Friday, battering him for 11 runs - four earned - and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings en route to a 16-3 win. The Orioles are winners of three of their last four games and remain three games behind the Minnesota Twins in a crowded race for the second AL wild card. The Red Sox tied a major league season high with five errors in the sloppy loss but lucked out with the New York Yankees losing as well and managed to hang onto their 4 ½-game lead in the AL East. Boston, which has dropped consecutive games for the first time this month, will try to bounce back behind Eduardo Rodriguez on Saturday while Baltimore counters with Kevin Gausman.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (9-9, 5.25 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3, 4.01)
Gausman allowed one or no runs in four straight starts between July 19 and Aug. 4 but posted just one quality start in his last three outings. The LSU product could not even make it through five innings against the Los Angeles Angels last Saturday, when he surrendered four home runs and was charged with five runs on six hits and four walks in four frames. Gausman is 0-2 in two outings against Boston this season while yielding a total of six runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Rodriguez has not won since May 26 and completed six innings in just two of his last eight outings. The Venezuela native struggled with his efficiency again at Cleveland on Monday and left after 5 2/3 innings despite allowing only three runs and four hits. Rodriguez worked six scoreless innings at Baltimore on April 23 but was rocked for seven runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings by the Orioles on June 1 before spending six weeks on the disabled list with a knee injury.
1. Red Sox INF Eduardo Nunez (wrist, thumb) left Friday’s game and is day-to-day.
2. Orioles 3B Manny Machado homered five times in the last seven games.
3. Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop collected four hits on Friday and has eight RBIs in his last five games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 8, Orioles 6