The Orioles begin their final road series of the 2018 season tonight at Boston’s Fenway Park. The Orioles won Sunday in New York, to start this last road trip 1-2. The Orioles had 37 hits in the series in the Bronx. It was just the second three-game series all year where the offense produced 10 or more hits in all three games. The other was at home Aug. 27-29 versus Toronto.
The Orioles finished the season going 5-4 at Yankee Stadium. Heading into tonight’s game they are 3-23 on the road in every other American League East ballpark. That is 1-6 in Boston, 2-7 at Tampa Bay and 0-10 at Toronto.
The Orioles (45-110) have lost seven straight series, going 5-16 in those games since that series at home late last month with the Blue Jays. They are 18-60 on the road and 1-14 in their past 15 road games.
Boston (105-51) clinched its third straight AL East title on Thursday. It’s the first time the Red Sox have won the division three straight seasons. The only other clubs to win the AL East in three or more consecutive years are the 1969-71 Orioles, 1976-78 Yankees, 1991-93 Blue Jays and 1998-2006 Yankees.
The Red Sox can secure the best record in the major leagues as early as tonight, with a win over the Orioles or an Astros loss at Toronto. The Red Sox have finished with sole possession of Major League Baseball’s best record four times: 1903, 1912, 1915, and 1946. They also held a share of MLB’s best record in 2007 and 2013.
The Red Sox lead MLB with 105 wins and a .673 win percentage; no other team has more than 98 wins. The Red Sox are 2-4 in their last six games, but still a major league-best 54-24 (.692) since June 24. Boston is 54 games above .500, two shy of its season high of plus-56.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy (8-15, 5.37 ERA) will make his 30th start. Bundy has put together back-to-back quality starts allowing four earned runs in 12 2/3 innings against Oakland and Toronto. But in 13 starts since July 6, Bundy is 2-8 with a 7.69 ERA.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 3.98 ERA) gets the start for Boston. The Red Sox acquired him July 25 from Tampa Bay for pitcher Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi has allowed two runs over 13 innings in his past three games, one of which came out of the bullpen.
He is 2-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 10 games with Boston and the club is 5-5 in those games. He had a terrible start versus the Orioles on Aug. 10 in Baltimore where he allowed 10 hits and eight runs (four earned) over 2 2/3 innings. In six career games, he is 2-0 with a 5.16 ERA and 1.820 WHIP against Baltimore.
The Orioles called up lefty John Means from Triple-A today. With his first appearance, Means will become the 15th Oriole to make his major league debut this year. The 15 debuts will mark the most in a season in Orioles history. If he gets in a game, Means will become the 56th player to appear in a game this season. The total of 56 will mark the most in Orioles history, surpassing the 54 players used during the 1955 season. Means would also become the 29th pitcher used, the most in O’s history (the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2016 teams each used 27 pitchers).
With the promotion of Means to Baltimore today, there have now been 33 players that have played for both Norfolk and Baltimore this season - surpassing Norfolk’s franchise record of 32 players that played for both clubs during the 2012 season.