When the Orioles started 6-1 while Boston was going 0-6, it was quite a reversal of fortunes for the two teams.
After the additions of players like Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, Boston was a popular pick to win the American League East, the AL and even the World Series. Then came their worst start since 1945.
But predictably, the Red Sox have gotten their act together and they are 10-5 since then, while the Orioles are 2-11.
In winning five in a row and eight of nine, Boston’s starting pitcher has been spectacular. Their starters’ ERA was 0.60 in a four-game weekend sweep of the Angels and is 0.88 over those last nine games. Boston’s overall ERA is 1.64 during the 8-1 run.
The Red Sox have won their past two games by shutouts, 5-0 and 7-0 over the Angels. Boston was pitching so badly early on, that, even with this recent surge, the club’s team ERA of 4.50 ranks next to last in the AL. Only the O’s are behind them, taking up last at 4.74.
While the Red Sox have not been bashing the ball yet on offense, Boston’s defense has been excellent. The Sox have played error-free ball for five games in a row and have just seven errors all year, an AL-low. The Orioles had the next fewest with eight before three errors on Sunday dropped them to sixth in AL team fielding percentage.
So Boston comes to town as a suddenly hot club, coming off its first four-game sweep on the road versus the Angels since June 1980.
Here are the pitching matchups for the Boston series:
Tuesday: Zach Britton (3-1, 3.16) vs. Clay Buchholz (1-2, 5.31)
Wednesday: Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 3.12) vs. Josh Beckett (2-1, 1.93)
Thursday: Brad Bergesen (0-3, 5.40) vs. Jon Lester (2-1, 2.59)
Buchholz is 5-2 with a career ERA of 2.98 in nine career games versus Baltimore. Remarkably, over his last four games against the Orioles, he has allowed just one run over 28 innings for an ERA of 0.28. He did not allow an earned run over 15 innings in two starts last year. I would say they are due against him. Buchholz pitched a no-hitter against the Orioles on Sept. 1, 2007 in his second career start.