The Orioles need a win this afternoon to beat Boston and avoid getting swept four in a row by the Red Sox in Baltimore for the first time since Sept. 19-22, 2016.
Boston (84-35) has won nine of 10, 13 of 15 and 28 of 34 games. The Red Sox are 42-20 on the road and 42-15 versus the American League East. The Red Sox are 46-7 when they hit two or more home runs as they have done each game in this series.
The Orioles (35-83) have lost eight of 10 and 24 of their last 35 games. They are 2-13 versus Boston and 20-38 at Oriole Park this season.
Boston lefty Chris Sale (11-4, 2.04 ERA) will come off the disabled list today to make his 23rd start. He went on the disabled list retroactive to July 28 with mild left shoulder inflammation. Before that DL stint, Sale was on an incredible roll.
Over his last six starts, Sale pitched five scoreless outings, allowing one run and 21 hits over 39 innings. In that span he went 5-0 with an ERA of 0.23 along with 67 strikeouts to just six walks. In that stretch he has fanned 10 or more batters five times. Over his past nine starts, Sale is 6-1 with an ERA of 0.75.
For the season Sale has allowed one earned run or less in 15 of 22 starts. He has thrown six scoreless starts with again five of those coming his past six games.
He is the American League ERA leader and also leads in WHIP and opponent average, is tied for second in strikeouts and ranks first in strikeouts/nine innings among starting pitchers at 13.2.
Sale is tough to hit at any point in the game. In their first plate appearance against him this year, opponent hitters bat .189. In the second they hit .173. In the third .186 and just .067 in a fourth plate appearance against Sale.
Sale is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two 2018 starts against Baltimore. Over 11 innings he has allowed just four hits and two runs with six walks and 17 strikeouts. The O’s have hit .108 against him. In 16 career games (10 starts) he is 6-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.203 WHIP.
Sale career strikeouts per nine innings versus AL East:
10.3 versus Boston
10.4 versus Toronto
11.6 versus New York
11.9 versus Orioles
13.3 versus Tampa Bay
Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.55 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles. He’s allowed two runs over 13 innings his past two games. He has four quality starts over his last five games, pitching to an ERA of 2.37. In seven home starts, Cobb is 0-6 with an ERA of 5.66.