As the Orioles get ready to, hopefully, play Boston for the third series this season tonight, they can look back on two very different series against the Red Sox.
The start of tonight’s game, which was set for 7:05 p.m., is being delayed by rain.
Shortly after 8 p.m., an approximate start time of 8:40 was announced.
The Orioles opened the year by sweeping three straight at Fenway Park. They outscored the Red Sox 18-5 in those games, holding them to 15 hits, and they pitched to an ERA of 1.67 in that weekend series. But the following weekend in Baltimore, they got swept by Boston and were outscored 27-16.
So the clubs are tied 3-3 in the season series as they get set to start a four-game series tonight through Monday at Camden Yards. The Red Sox (19-13) have been in first place atop the American League East every day since April 10. The Orioles (15-16) are in last place, but they are just two games out of second and 3 1/2 behind Boston.
Boston has produced one of the best offenses in the majors this year, another reason that the opening series in Fenway Park was so impressive for O’s pitchers. The Red Sox lead the majors in team batting average (.267), slugging (.444) and OPS (.776). Their OBP of .332 ranks second in the AL and third in the big leagues. Boston is averaging 5.19 runs per game for the season and 5.33 in its six games versus the Orioles.
Birds pitchers begin this series ranked eighth in the AL with a team ERA of 3.98. They are 10th in rotation ERA at 4.44 and fifth in the AL and seventh in the majors in bullpen ERA at 3.35.
But the O’s starting pitchers had a strong road trip, capped, of course, by John Means pitching the sixth no-hitter in team history Wednesday at Seattle. O’s starters pitched to a 2.19 ERA in the six games of the trip, allowing two earned runs or fewer five times. In the Seattle series, the rotation ERA was 0.92.
O’s starters have now recorded nine quality starts and the team is 7-2 in those games.
Right-hander Matt Harvey (3-1, 4.06 ERA) will make his seventh start. The Orioles are 4-2 over the first six of those, and have won the last three straight Harvey starts.
He got the win in all three with a 3.24 ERA and a .234 batting average against. Over his last two starts versus the Yankees and Oakland, Harvey has allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 11 2/3 innings, for a 2.31 ERA.
For the season, he has thrown 31 innings, allowing 31 hits with 1.290 WHIP, 9.0 hits per nine and 0.6 homers per nine, with 2.6 walks and 6.4 strikeouts. He faced Boston in his first two starts of the year, going 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA.
Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (4-0, 4.18 ERA), the former O’s farmhand, gets his sixth start tonight and second versus the Orioles. He got the win April 8 in Baltimore, allowing four hits and three runs over five innings.
In 20 career games versus the Orioles, he is 10-5 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.096 WHIP and with 9.9 strikeouts per nine. O’s batters have hit .227/.276/.362/.637 against him in those 20 games.
The Red Sox win a high percentage of his games. They are 4-1 in his starts this year and 49-13 (.790) since the beginning of the 2018 season. Rodriguez has made 33 consecutive starts going five innings or more, and Boston is 26-7 in those games.
Boston began the year going 0-3, which was against the Orioles. They followed going 9-0 and now are 10-10 over their past 20 games. Boston will play AL East teams in just 18 of its first 57 games. The Orioles have already played 13 games within the division, going 6-7 against Boston and New York.
Lowest ERA by an O’s pitcher in his first seven starts to a season:
* Hoyt Wilhelm 1.05 in 1959.
* John Means 1.37 in 2021.
* Milt Pappas 1.50 in 1963.
* Jim Palmer 1.55 in 1977.
* Dave McNally 1.57 in 1973.