Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
The Baltimore Orioles finished April with a much-needed victory and look to start May on the right foot when they visit the Boston Red Sox on Monday for the opener of what could be a heated four-game set. The last series between the American League East rivals (April 21-23) started with a high slide by Baltimore’s Manny Machado that injured Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and ended with a pitch that just missed the head of the Orioles’ third baseman.
Adam Jones went 7-for-15 with an RBI over the weekend as Baltimore salvaged the finale of a three-game set against the New York Yankees with a 7-4 victory in 11 innings on Sunday. Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy will oppose Rick Porcello of the Red Sox on Monday, and the Orioles could see the return of closer Zach Britton (strained left forearm), who is expected to join the team in Boston and may be activated during the series. The Red Sox took two of three from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs over the weekend, concluding the set with Sunday’s 6-2 triumph. Boston’s Hanley Ramirez homered for the second straight contest in the finale and is 8-for-22 with three blasts and five RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (3-1, 1.65 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (1-3, 4.75)
Bundy has assumed the role of ace for the Orioles while beginning the season with five consecutive quality starts, allowing two runs and 15 hits over 19 1/3 innings in his last three turns. The 24-year-old Tulsa native gave up two runs over 6 1/3 frames against Tampa Bay in his first no-decision last time out and owns a 0.98 WHIP. Mookie Betts (5-for-15, two homers) and Pedroia (6-for-15) have had success versus Bundy, who is 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA against the Red Sox overall.
Porcello has pitched better in his last two starts, permitting six runs – two earned – over 13 2/3 innings with 14 strikeouts, but extended his losing streak to three with a pair of defeats. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner gave up 15 runs, including five homers, in his first three outings this season and opponents are batting .277 against him overall. Seth Smith (9-for-19) and J.J. Hardy (11-for-28) have hit well against Porcello, who is 4-8 with a 4.88 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Orioles.
1. Baltimore 1B Chris Davis (sore right elbow), who is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in his last two games, was a late scratch Sunday and is day-to-day.
2. Pedroia went 6-for-10 while LF Andrew Benintendi was 4-for-11 with two homers and four runs scored in the series against the Cubs.
3. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop has hit safely in six consecutive games, going 7-for-22 with six RBIs during that stretch.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Orioles 4