If the Orioles are going to end a long losing streak today at Boston, they may have to beat lefty Chris Sale, who is making his return to the majors today. Sale and Boston host the Orioles in Game 2 of a three-game series and, for the Orioles, a seven-game road trip.
Boston got homers from Xander Bogaerts (No. 18), Bobby Dalbec (No. 12) and Hunter Renfroe (No. 20) in an 8-1 win last night. That snapped the Orioles’ four-game win streak at Fenway Park, during which they had allowed just six runs.
Dalbec went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a homer last night and set a single-game career high with three extra-base hits. His second-inning double was his second bases-loaded hit in his last two games. Dalbec is 9-for-18 (.500) with three runs, two doubles, a triple, one homer, nine RBIs, and three walks in his last seven games, beginning Aug. 5. He has reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 starts.
Renfroe has five homers, 12 RBIs and 10 runs in his last 12 games. Also, 15 of his last 20 hits have been for extra bases (eight doubles, seven home runs) and he has a career-high-tying 68 RBIs, matching his 2018 output with San Diego.
Sale will make his 2021 season debut today, his first major league game since he allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings versus Cleveland on Aug. 13, 2019. Now, 733 days later, Sale is back. He had Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020.
Sale made five minor league rehab starts leading up to today, pitching once in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League and twice each at Double-A and Triple-A. In his five games, he allowed three runs and 17 hits in 20 innings with five walks and 35 strikeouts. In his last two games at the Triple-A level, he gave up seven hits and one run over 9 2/3 innings.
When Sale last pitched in the majors, he went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts during the 2019 season. Sale finished in the top six in the Cy Young Award voting every year for seven straight seasons from 2012 through 2018.
Sale leads active American League pitchers (minimum 1,000 innings) in ERA (3.03), opponent average (.218) and WHIP (1.04).
He has made 20 career appearances (14 starts) against the Orioles, going 8-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.066 WHIP. Over 91 innings, he walked 26, fanned 133 and gave up just six home runs. O’s batters for his career hit .213 against him with an OPS of .608.
Right-hander Jorge López (3-12, 5.75 ERA) will make his 24th start for the Orioles. He has put together back-to-back quality starts for the fifth time in his career. In his last two games - versus the Yankees and Rays - he allowed five hits and three runs over 12 innings with seven walks and nine strikeouts.
The Orioles are 8-15 in his 2021 games, including a 4-1 mark in his past five. Today, López makes his 57th career start. This year, he has recorded five outings of six innings or more and five quality starts. In four career games (two starts) versus Boston, he is 0-1 with an ERA of 8.62, allowing 15 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings.
The Orioles (38-76) were 10-6 since the All-Star break, but 10-15 after a nine-game losing streak. During this run, they have allowed 19 home runs and been outscored 82-30. They’ve yielded nine runs or more seven times in the nine games and six of the losses have come versus AL East teams.
The Orioles went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position last night and are 0-28 with RISP over the last four games.
The Orioles are 4-7 against Boston and 13-32 in AL East games. They are 21-39 on the road.