Steven Wright admittedly shot himself in the foot with a career-worst performance in his last encounter with the Baltimore Orioles, surrendering eight runs on as many hits in 1 1/3 innings in a disastrous 12-5 setback on April 12. The 32-year-old knuckleballer hopes for better aim Saturday as the Boston Red Sox look to even their three-game series against their American League East rival at Camden Yards.
Adam Jones launched one of the four homers against Wright in last week’s contest and had an RBI single in Friday’s 2-0 series-opening victory. The 31-year-old Jones has collected four hits in three meetings with Boston this season and is 3-for-11 with two homers and four RBIs versus Wright in his career. While the Orioles boast a majors-best 11-4 record and 9-3 mark against the AL East, Boston perhaps endured more than just its second shutout loss in three outings as Dustin Pedroia needed assistance from the field following a late slide from Manny Machado. “I’ll see how I feel (Saturday),” the four-time All-Star second baseman said of his sore leg. “If I feel good, I’ll intend to play, absolutely.”
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Steven Wright (1-1, 8.36 ERA) vs. Orioles LH Jayson Aquino (2016: 0-0, 0.00)
Wright enjoyed success versus Baltimore last season, defeating the club twice in two appearances while allowing five earned runs in 16 1/3 innings. The 2016 All-Star did his best to move past his disastrous performance against the Orioles with a quality start versus Tampa Bay on Monday, permitting three runs on six hits in a 4-3 victory. Wright also kept the ball in the park against the Rays after being battered by Baltimore in the previous outing.
Recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, Aquino is set to make his first major-league start after yielding one hit and striking out three in 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief last season with Baltimore. The 24-year-old Dominican was one of the last roster cuts before Opening Day after recording a 1.20 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .185 batting average in 15 innings during the spring. Aquino permitted one unearned run in six innings in his last start on April 14 for the Tides.
1. Machado belted a solo homer in the series opener, giving him two blasts among his six hits in his last six games.
2. Red Sox OFs Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi saw their respective five-game hitting streaks come to an end Friday, with the former going 2-for-14 versus the Orioles this season while the latter is 3-for-11.
3. Baltimore OF Trey Mancini is just 1-for-9 with three strikeouts on the heels of a four-game hitting streak in which he recorded four homers and eight RBIs.
PREDICTION: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4