BALTIMORE — It seems that with every series preview we write here at Charm City Bird Watch, the same misfortunes keep popping up for the Orioles (19-45). The one-dimensional offense can’t produce enough runs, the bullpen can’t hold a lead, and the defense isn’t what it used to be. The starting pitching has actually been decent, with the Orioles ranking fourth in the American League in quality starts with 31. But, with so little run support, it’s been almost impossible for Orioles starting pitchers to record a win, even with a quality start.
After suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles return to Baltimore for a six-game homestead divided into two three-game series. The first team the Orioles will welcome to Camden Yards this week is the Boston Red Sox (44-22), who just suffered a 2-1 weekend series loss at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. Boston has lost three of their last four.
This marks the first time this season that these two teams meet at Camden Yards. In 2017, the Red Sox went 6-4 in Baltimore, including a 3-0 sweep from Sept. 18-20.
Standings Update: Looking at the current AL East standings, the Yankees (42-19) lead Boston by half a game. The Blue Jays (30-35) and the Rays (29-35) both trail by a large margin, but the Orioles are so far behind the rest of the bunch. Fourth-place Tampa finds themselves 14.5 games out of first place, while the Orioles sit 25.5 games back.
Last meeting: From May 17-20, the Red Sox took three of four from the Orioles in a weekend series at Fenway Park. In the opener, a 6-2 win for Boston, David Price pitched a complete game and came one pitch away from a shutout before Manny Machado smacked a two-run home run. Alex Cobb won his first game as an Oriole in Baltimore’s 7-4 win on Friday the 18th. In game 3 the O’s hung with Boston, trailing 4-3 until the seventh inning when Andrew Benintendi‘s two-run single made it a 6-3 game and eventual final score. The Red Sox shutout the Birds 5-0 in the Sunday finale. Baltimore out-hit Boston 13-12, but left 14 runners on-base.
Boston leads the season series over Baltimore, 6-1.
Game times and pitching matchups:
Notes on the Red Sox:
- Without Mookie Betts, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Jun. 1 with an abdominal strain, the Boston offense averages 4.5 runs-per-game, down nearly a run from when they had him in the lineup. Betts was officially activated from the DL this afternoon (Jun. 11). Red Sox legend Dustin Pedroia remains on the DL for the second time this season with inflammation in his left knee. Pedroia has only played in three games so far this season but is expected back by the end of the month.
- J.D. Martinez has hit a home run against 12 of the 13 teams the Red Sox have played so far this season (Miami being the exception). Martinez currently leads MLB in both home runs (21) and RBI (54).
- In their weekend series against the White Sox, the Red Sox went 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Orioles fans can certainly relate to what that feels like.
Notes on the Orioles:
- Zach Britton will likely be activated off the 60-day disabled list ahead of Monday’s opener. Britton will make his 2018 debut after tearing his right Achilles tendon in December. It will likely take some time for Britton to return to form, but he reportedly looked like himself during his rehab assignment. Nevertheless, Britton and Darren O’Day‘s returns to the bullpen will be welcomed given how much the relief unit has struggled this season.
- Want a perfect example of the Orioles’ inability to play small ball? Their last 15 home runs have all been solo shots. Simply put, the Orioles aren’t getting nearly enough runners on-base to pose a legitimate offensive threat.
- Chris Davis is on-pace to possibly turn in the worst offensive season in the history of Major League Baseball. David Schoenfield of ESPNdetailed Davis’s completely inept season.
Image Credit: WJLA