Bullpen still in pretty good shape (with notes)

BOSTON - I hope everyone slept fast, as manager Buck Showalter always suggests after a quick turnaround.

In case you forgot, we’ve got a 1:10 p.m. start today, with Jason Hammel opposing Aaron Cook, who’s subbing for Josh Beckett.

Hammel switched places with Tommy Hunter, who starts tomorrow.

I asked Hunter yesterday how his foot was feeling, and he got a puzzled look on his face. I explained that we were told he had an ingrown toenail removed, and he replied, “That was weeks ago. I’m fine.”

Hunter’s been dealing with a cranky lower back since spring training, and we’ve learned that he occasionally is bothered by some soreness in his side. Neither ailment has prevented him from making every start this season, but the Orioles keep close watch on him and, in this case, are giving him an extra day of rest to go with the other additional day that the schedule provided on Thursday.

I guess his foot is fine.

So is the bullpen despite having to cover the last eight innings of last night’s stirring 6-4, 13-inning victory over the Red Sox.

You would think that Showalter pretty much had to burn out the ‘pen, but a closer look reveals that Matt Lindstrom threw only 11 pitches while retiring the side in order in the sixth. He’s got to be available today. Jim Johnson recorded his eighth save in routine fashion, throwing only 13 pitches - including 10 for strikes on a drama-free night. Darren O’Day warmed up, but never got into the game. Neither did Kevin Gregg, who hasn’t been used in eight days.

Hammel hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his five starts. He’s gone eight innings once, seven innings once and six innings twice. If he throws like he’s been doing, the baton won’t have to be passed excessively.

The Orioles’ bullpen lowered its ERA to 1.56 last night. Let’s see just how low it can go.

The Red Sox used six relievers last night, including Alfredo Aceves for 2 2/3 innings, despite getting six innings out of Jon Lester.

By the way, Matt Albers tossed two scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run or hit in eight innings against the Orioles. He’s walked two and struck out 11 in six appearances.

NOTES: With a win today, the Orioles would move to nine games above .500 for the first time since July 15, 2005, when they were 49-40.

A win in either of the last two games of this series would ensure back-to-back winning road trips for the first time since August and September 2010, when the Orioles went 4-2 on a trip to Chicago and Los Angeles and 4-2 on a trip to New York and Detroit.

A win today or tomorrow would give the Orioles their seventh series win of the season and their 11th in their last 14 dating back to 2011.

The Orioles’ 2.79 ERA leads the American League and ranks second in the majors behind the Nationals’ 2.41.

Chris Davis is batting .387 (12-for-31) in his last nine games, with two doubles, four homers, 10 RBIs, five walks and 10 runs scored. His OPS in those nine games is 1.298.

Davis has struck out just five times in those nine games after fanning 15 times in his first 15 games.

The Orioles are 5-0 when Davis hits a home run, and his next homer will be the 50th of his career.

The Orioles have trailed at some point in seven of their 17 victories.

For the Red Sox:
Sweeney RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gonzalez 1B
Aviles SS
Saltalamacchia C
Ross LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Byrd CF

Cook RHP

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