Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network MASN (Baltimore)
The American League East race is gaining more definition this week, and the Boston Red Sox are emerging as the clear favorites. The Red Sox will try to add to their division lead and trim their magic number to eight when they visit the Baltimore Orioles for the second of a four-game series on Tuesday.
Boston knocked the New York Yankees out of the race with a four-game sweep over the weekend and set about doing the same to the Orioles with a 5-2 victory in Monday’s series opener. Mookie Betts continued his domination of Baltimore with a two-run blast and David Ortiz homered as well for the Red Sox, who are now four games ahead of the Orioles with 12 left in the regular season. Baltimore had a chance to get back into the division race with a strong series but ensured that it will be in no better than second place when the weekend rolls around with a loss in the opener, leaving the wild card race a more pressing concern. The Orioles remain in a battle with the Toronto Blue Jays for the top wild card spot, with the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners lurking close behind.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7, 4.98 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (8-10, 3.43)
A potential third spot in the Boston postseason rotation behind Rick Porcello and David Price is up for grabs, and Rodriguez did not do much to distinguish himself last time out. The 23-year-old Venezuelan could not make it through three innings and was ripped for four runs on eight hits by the New York Yankees on Thursday. Rodriguez tossed four hitless innings at Baltimore on Aug. 16 before leaving with tightness in his hamstring and is 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles.
Gausman had no trouble with the powerful Red Sox offense on Wednesday, when he scattered four hits over eight scoreless innings to outduel Porcello in a 1-0 Baltimore win. Gausman is 5-0 in his last six starts and held the opposition scoreless in four of his past five outings. The LSU product has not served up a home run in any of his last five starts and is 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 career games – eight starts – against Boston.
1. Betts is batting .500 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs in seven games at Baltimore this season.
2. Orioles OF/1B Steve Pearce, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list, will have surgery on Wednesday to repair flexor tendons in his right arm.
3. Boston 1B Hanley Ramirez, who was named AL Co-Player of the Week on Monday, is 10-for-20 with four home runs and nine RBIs in the last five games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3