Opposite dugout: After 500th home run, Ortiz and Red Sox look to catch Orioles

red-sox-square.jpgManager: John Farrell (3rd season)

Record: 68-74

Last 10 games: 7-3

Who to watch: DH David Ortiz (.275/.361/.556 with 34 HR, 95 RBIs), SS Xander Bogaerts (.321/.352/.414 with 71 RBIs), CF Mookie Betts (.290/.336/.475 with 15 HR, 71 RBIs), RHP Joe Kelly (10-6, 106 Ks), LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-5, 4.05 ERA)

Season series vs. Orioles: 4-9

Pitching probables:

Sept. 14: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez vs. RHP Kevin Gausman, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sept. 15: RHP Joe Kelly vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sept. 16: LHP Henry Owens vs. RHP Mike Wright, 7:05 p.m., MASN

Inside the Red Sox:

The Red Sox and Orioles are in a battle in the middle of the last month of the season, and it's not one either team wanted to be in this year. The O's lead the last-place Sox by one game at the bottom of the American League East standings. After the Sox won two out of three in Tampa Bay this past weekend, the Rays also find themselves a game above Boston and in the mix for last place, while the Blue Jays and Yankees battle for the AL East crown.

But the Red Sox are hot on the O's heels, having won nine of their last 13 series and 16 of their last 24 games thanks largely in part to their offense. They have averaged a little over six runs per game over their 11 games in September. Boston sports one of the best offenses in the American League, ranking in the top three in runs (662), hits (1,327), RBIs (629), batting average (.268) and on-base percentage (.328). The Sox also rank fourth with a .747 OPS.

However, the Red Sox pitching doesn't fare as well. Actually, they are the complete opposite of the hitting, ranking in the league's bottom three in ERA (4.45), earned runs (628), runs (680) and opponent batting average (.266).

The Red Sox are led, as usual, by designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz leads the team with 34 home runs and 95 RBIs, while slashing .275/.361/.556. Big Papi also hit his 500th career home run on Saturday against the Rays, the 27th player in history to reach the milestone. He has hit 24 career homers at Camden Yards, his third most in an opposing ballpark behind Toronto's Rogers Centre (39) and Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field (33).

Other than Ortiz, the Red Sox are getting offense from shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is second in the AL with a .321 batting average. He has a .252 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage to finish his slash line and go along with his 71 RBIs. Center fielder Mookie Betts is slashing .290/.336/.475 with 15 homers and 71 RBIs. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has knocked 10 homers and 46 RBIs, but is only batting .247.

Rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start the series opener in Baltimore. Rodriguez has been in the Red Sox rotation since the end of May and has posted a 9-5 record and 4.05 ERA in his rookie campaign. And he's been hot lately, going 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last four starts. Rodriguez is 3-3 with a 4.31 ERA on the road and 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts against the O's this season. The loss came at Fenway Park, but he pitched six innings of three-hit shutout ball in his first start at Camden Yards. He gave up three walks and struck out seven, earning a no-decision in the O's 1-0 win.

Joe Kelly will be the only veteran and right-hander to start for the Red Sox in this series. He, too, has been hot lately, winning eight straight starts with a 2.59 ERA and going 8-1 with a 3.45 ERA in his 10 starts since the All-Star break. Kelly is 4-3 with a 4.72 ERA on the road and 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the Birds this season. He gave up three hits, five runs, two walks and two strikeouts in just 3 2/3 innings in a 6-4 loss the last time he faced the Orioles.

Henry Owens will be the second rookie southpaw the Red Sox will throw against the Orioles when he takes the mound in the series finale. Owens is 2-2 with a 5.25 ERA in seven career starts after making his major league debut on Aug. 4. He pitched five innings and gave up five hits, three runs, one walk and five strikeouts in a 13-3 loss to the Yankees. The lefty is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three road starts in his young career. He throws a 90 mph fastball 64 percent of the time, a 78 mph changeup 19 percent of the time, while mixing in a 72 mph curveball and 77 mph slider.

The Red Sox are 4-9 against the Orioles this season and have lost five of their last six meetings. Boston is 1-5 at Camden Yards in 2015.

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