Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
The Orioles are on pace to win 162 games and are turning Fenway Park into their own home run palace this week. Baltimore will try to bash its way to a series sweep and an 8-0 record to begin the season when it visits the Boston Red Sox for the finale on Wednesday.
Baltimore rode its pitching staff to the first five wins but broke out the bats in the first two games against the Red Sox. Mark Trumbo homered in each of the first two games, Chris Davis bashed the tiebreaking three-run homer in the ninth inning on Monday and J.J. Hardy used Fenway’s friendly dimensions to bloop a pair of homers down the right-field line in Tuesday’s 9-5 victory. Boston’s pitching staff has been just as shaky as feared the first 1 1/2 times through the rotation, with only two quality starts in the first seven games. The Orioles knocked around top two starters David Price and Clay Buchholz in the first two games of the series and will take their shots at Joe Kelly on Wednesday while countering with Ubaldo Jimenez.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Joe Kelly (0-0, 21.00)
Jimenez struggles with his control from time to time but was in the zone in his season debut against Minnesota, striking out nine without issuing a walk in seven innings en route to a win. The Dominican Republic native yielded eight hits but limited the damage to two runs – one earned – in the outing. Jimenez is 2-4 with a 7.26 ERA in 11 career starts against Boston, with one of those wins coming in four starts last season.
Kelly allowed a run in the first inning on Friday in Toronto and made it through the next two scoreless before getting knocked around and failing to record an out in the fourth. The 27-year-old earned his spot in the rotation with a strong finish last season and a good spring but issued three walks in three-plus innings at Toronto before leaving the game after surrendering a grand slam. Kelly is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five career starts against Baltimore.
1. Trumbo has four hits, two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored in the first two games of the series.
2. Red Sox RF Mookie Betts is 5-for-10 in the series after going 3-for-23 in the first five games.
3. Baltimore CF Adam Jones (ribs) has been limited to work as a defensive replacement in the last two games and has not made a plate appearance in five straight.
PREDICTION: Orioles 8, Red Sox 5