BOSTON - Chris Tillman will seek his 17th win tonight and the Orioles will attempt to sweep the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Tillman is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in nine career starts against the Red Sox. He's 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Fenway Park, with five earned runs allowed over 23 1/3 innings.
Tillman's career ERA against the Red Sox is more than two runs per game better than his ERA against any other American League East club. He's posted a 4.18 ERA in nine starts vs. the Blue Jays, 4.90 in 11 starts vs. the Rays and 6.70 in 10 starts vs. the Yankees.
The current Red Sox are batting a collective .183 (24-for-131) against Tillman. Shane Victorino is 4-for-11 with a home run, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 1-for-16 with six strikeouts and David Ortiz is 0-for-10 with three strikeouts.
Tillman is lined up to make two more starts after tonight's game if he remains on normal rest. No shot at 20 wins, but he can get 19.
The Orioles don't have another off-day on the schedule, but the rotation's configuration is a mystery. We should find out later today whether Bud Norris or Miguel Gonzalez starts Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field. Do they both make starts this month, giving Showalter a six-man rotation? Does Jason Hammel drop back out after Friday night's assignment against the Rays?
John Lackey is on the mound tonight for the Red Sox. That's good news for Chris Davis, who's 11-for-26 (.423) with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs against him. Manny Machado is 6-for-11 with a double, two homers and four RBIs. Nick Markakis is 18-for-51 (.353) with four doubles and a triple.
Matt Wieters is 5-for-27 (.185) and J.J. Hardy is 2-for-15 (.133).
Danny Valencia hasn't faced Lackey, but he figures to remain the designated hitter. He's batting .467 with eight doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 17 games - including 10 multi-hit games - and is 11-for-22 with three doubles, a triple and a home run against the Red Sox this season.
The Orioles bullpen hasn't allowed a run in 18 innings on this road trip.
Closer Jim Johnson hasn't allowed a run in 15 appearances against the Red Sox since June 6, 2012. He's converted all 13 save opportunities.