The Baltimore Orioles are hitting the end of their seven-game road trip and they cannot get out of Boston soon enough. After more on-field drama that featured the ejections of two of their players, the Orioles will attempt to earn a split when they wrap up their four-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday night.
Baltimore’s pitching plans were scrambled after Kevin Gausman was tossed in the second inning Wednesday for hitting Boston’s Xander Bogaerts with a curveball. The ripple effect of that action forced Orioles manager Buck Showaler to use Thursday’s scheduled starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, in relief and left the team needing a fresh arm for Thursday’s finale. Josh Rutledge, an in-game injury replacement for third baseman Marco Hernandez, collected his first hit and first two RBIs of the season as the Red Sox won their second in a row to improve to 4-4 against Baltimore this season. On the mound for Boston will be veteran Kyle Kendrick, who will be making his first start in the majors since October 2015.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles Tyler Wilson vs. Red Sox RH Kyle Kendrick (2015: 7-13, 6.32 ERA)
Showalter said he had a contingency plan for a starter in place if he used Jimenez on Wednesday and the two most likely candidates are right-handers Tyler Wilson or Gabriel Ynoa at Triple-A Norfolk. Wilson last pitched on Friday but he has gone only three and four innings in his two starts. Ynoa is 1-4 with a 6.65 ERA but pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball Saturday.
Although Kendrick was 1-3 with a 6.00 in four starts at Triple-A Pawtucket and surrendered seven home runs in 27 innings, he is coming off a strong performance with seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball. He won at least 10 games six times in his career, but also posted double-digit losses in each of his last four major league seasons (2012-15). He will be facing Baltimore for the first time.
1. Orioles SS J.J. Hardy ended a 10-game RBI drought with a run-scoring single Wednesday.
2. Red Sox closer RHP Craig Kimbrel earned his 10th save, striking out the side to give him 24 whiffs in 13 1/3 innings.
3. CF Adam Jones was also ejected Wednesday, marking the first time since July 2011 that two Orioles were tossed in the same game – also at Fenway Park.
PREDICTION: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4