Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox
Dates: Friday, August 25, 2017 – Sunday, August 27, 2017
Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
The Orioles are playing the hated Red Sox in a point in the season where every loss is a major blow to their slightest of slight postseason dreams. Baltimore is still acting like it has a chance at October baseball while the rest of the world is willing to right them off. Going for them in this series is a 7-6 record against the Sox on the year. Going against them, however, is a 62-65 overall mark and a team that’s played sub-.500 baseball in every month since April. After a nice little push to get back to .500 on August 7, the O’s have gone 6-9.
Boston sits just a handful of games back on the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League and have been playing great ball. Going into Wednesday, the Sox were 14-4 in the month of August and have seen the offense really take off. In the beginning of the year, Boston’s offense has stalled without David Ortiz, but in August, the Sox have scored 109 runs in 18 games, posting a .815 OPS in the month.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Friday, August 25, 2017, 7:10 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Jeremy Hellickson ( Orioles ) vs. Rick Porcello ( Red Sox )
Jeremy Hellickson has pitched like an Oriole since joining the staff. In four games, he’s allowed 16 runs and six home runs in just 22.2 innings of work. He’s pitching to a 1-2 record a 6.35 ERA. The one thing that’s different, however, is his walk rate is low and his WHIP is just 1.235. He’s been very hittable, but has been able to at least keep the ball in the strike zone. The Red Sox don’t offer a better matchup for Hellickson to get back on track. In his last start against Boston—as a member of the Phillies---he allowed six runs on nine hits in five frames.
The Red Sox’s hurler has been a far cry from the Rick Porcello who won the Cy Young Award last year. He’s just 8-14 with a 4.48 ERA, but has been a better pitcher in the second half. He’s 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA. All four of those wins have come in the month of August. Surprisingly, however, he’s fared much better on the road than at home, posting an ERA nearly a run lower away from Fenway Park so home field advantage may not be such a huge advantage on Friday.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Saturday, August 26, 2017, 4:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Kevin Gausman ( Orioles ) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez ( Red Sox )
The Orioles traded away one of their best pitching prospects for Andrew Miller a few seasons ago to make a postseason run. The team got to the ALCS, but lost to the Royals. That season, the Orioles dealt away Eduardo Rodriguez and opted to keep Kevin Gausman. Now the two go head-ot-head.
Kevin Gausman has had a down year. It looked like he broke out last year, but is 9-9 with a 5.25 ERA. He had been throwing much better recently, but allowed five runs in four innings against the Angels last time out. He’s also facing the Red Sox who’ve had a great deal of success against him, especially Mookie Betts who is 10-for-23 with three home runs and three walks, giving him a .500 OBP and .826 slugging percentage.
On the other side of this matchup, Eduardo Rodriguez has an ERA over a run lower than Gausman’s at 4.01. He’s bounced back in August after a rough July and has done reasonably well against his former organization, pitching to a 4.37 ERA and posting a 10.6 strikeout per nine inning ratio. The Orioles lit him up for seven runs in 5.2 innings in his last start against them after being held to a single hit in six frames back in April.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Sunday, August 27, 2017, 1:35 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Chris Tillman ( Orioles ) vs. Doug Fister ( Red Sox )
Chris Tillman has been a complete disaster for the Birds this year. He’s 1-7 with a 7.75 ERA and hasn’t looked right all year. There’s plenty of speculation that he’s pitching hurt given how strong he’s been over the years. He doesn’t look the same. His fastball has lost velocity and his control is gone. If he’s not hurt, he’s really letting his walk year get to him. He earned a start after a couple scoreless relief appearances and went right back to his struggles allowing four runs in 5.1 innings against the Angels on August 20. He’s not yet scheduled to start Sunday, but is lined up and given the lack of options for Baltimore is the likely starter.
Sure, Doug Fister is just 3-6 and his 4.78 ERA leaves plenty to be desired, but he was masterful in his last start, delivering a complete-game, one-hitter against the Indians. He’s had mixed results against the Orioles in his career. He’s owned Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo, holding them to three combined hits in 24 at-bats. He, however, has struggled against Manny Machado in limited chances. Machado is 4-for-8 against him with a pair of homers. Chris Davis has also hit a pair of homers against him and has five hits in 15 at-bats.