Here is the best way for the Orioles to tick off the Red Sox and their fans starting tonight: Beat them.
The Orioles were swept in a four-game series at Boston last weekend by a combined 32-13 score. They came up short on the scoreboard.
They also came up short in the baseball justice department. They hit fewer batters, but had more ejections and suspensions. One manager got suspended from that series and it wasn’t Tito.
It looks to me like the Red Sox are starting their JV pitchers in this series with Tim Wakefield going tonight, Kyle Weiland tomorrow and Andrew Miller on Wednesday.
No Lester or Beckett in the bunch.
Wakefield is 5-3 with an ERA of 4.74. Over his last three starts, his ERA is 6.38 and opponent batters are hitting .351 off him. Over his last seven starts, Wakefield’s ERA is 5.24. He is not exactly a pitcher on a roll as he comes to Baltimore.
Weiland will be making just his second major league start. His first was against the Orioles and didn’t go well last Sunday when he gave up eight hits and six runs over just four innings. The Orioles batted .444 against him in that game.
Then there is Miller, the former Tigers’ first-round draft pick with the career record of 18-27 and ERA of 5.83. In five big league starts since his call-up from Triple-A Pawtucket, he is 3-1 with a 5.68 ERA and he gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 his last time out against Tampa Bay. Opposing batters are hitting .303 against Miller on the year.
So that looks like some shaky pitching the Orioles will get their swings at - an Orioles offense that produced only 32 hits in four games against Cleveland, but 20 of them went for extra bases. They hit 12 doubles and eight homers in that series.
They are batting .361 with runners in scoring position the last five games and coming off a four-homer game Sunday.
The Orioles are 2-6 on the year against Boston, but 2-1 in Baltimore. They went 9-9 last season against Boston and are 11-13 in the last 24 versus the Sox.
The other side of that coin is how badly the Orioles have been playing. Even in winning the last two games of the Cleveland series, they have still lost 14 of their last 17 games and are 8-23 in the past 31.
No, they are not charging into this series riding the momentum wave.
After all the ejections of last weekend at Fenway Park, it’s time to find out how the rematch goes and if anyone gets chippy over the next three games in Baltimore.
With a few wins, the Orioles could quiet the Red Sox and their fans.
Will they be up for the challenge?