After sweep of Yankees, Boston welcomes the Birds to Fenway tonight

After winning a series against one red-hot American League East team over the weekend, the Orioles begin a series against another one tonight in Boston.

The Orioles won the last two on the road versus Tampa Bay to take that series. The Rays entered the series with the Orioles with the majors best record since April 11 at 21-7.

Boston completed a three-game road sweep of the Yankees last night and has now won six of its last eight and is 9-5 over its previous 14 games. Since beginning the year 0-6, Boston is 20-14 and reached the .500 mark for the first time all season with Sunday's 7-5 win over New York.

Boston's series sweep at Yankee Stadium was its first three-game sweep at New York since April 23-25, 2004. Boston is 5-1 on the season against New York and has won seven of the last eight in the series.

The Sox are now 9-8 versus the AL East, 9-5 in May and 11-9 at home.

Unlike Tampa Bay, which has hit much better this year on the road, Boston has hit better in the friendly confines of Fenway Park where the Sox have a .274 team average (second best home mark in the AL) and is scoring 4.7 runs per game.

Adrian Gonzalez had homered in four games in a row until going hitless last night. He leads the AL with 34 RBIs and has 12 over his past seven games. Carl Crawford, who was really slumping when these clubs last played, is now batting .298 (17-for-57) over his past 14 games.

Here is encouraging news for Orioles' fans. The Birds took two of three when these teams met at the Yard in late April and the Orioles are now 11-8 in their last 19 games with Boston.

Here is more encouraging news. Tonight, the Orioles face Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is 3-3 with an ERA of 4.64. Last year he had an ERA of 7.56 in three starts against the Orioles and he is 4-3 with an ERA of 5.73 in nine career starts against Baltimore.

That is his second highest ERA against any AL team, behind only Tampa at 5.83.

Tomorrow night, the Orioles face struggling John Lackey, who is 2-5 with an ERA of 8.01. His WHIP is 1.805 and he has allowed a staggering 17 earned runs in 10 2/3 over his past two starts. His ERA at home this year is 9.60.

Maybe an Orioles team that is batting .304 with 70 hits over its last six games can put up some runs over the next two nights at Fenway Park in support of Chris Tillman and Zach Britton.

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