BALTIMORE — The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are two of the hottest teams in the American League as they begin a three-game series Friday night at Camden Yards.
Boston took two of three games from reeling Toronto and improved to 10-6. The Orioles won twice in Cincinnati and have the best record in the majors at 10-4, leading the American League East.
The Red Sox and Orioles meet in Baltimore for the first time this season after splitting a pair of games in Boston on April 11-12. Baltimore is just happy to return home after a nine-game trip in which it went 6-3.
“We’re going home to see some friendly faces,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s a quick turnaround, but we’ll find a way to compete with the Red Sox.”
The Red Sox will open the series with left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23 ERA) on the hill. Pomeranz had a stem-cell injection in his elbow in the offseason and opened the year on the disabled list.
In his debut April 11, Pomeranz picked up a win against the Orioles. However, he was roughed up in his next outing against Tampa Bay, when he allowed five runs on five hits in just 4 1/3 innings.
Pomeranz was acquired from the San Diego Padres last season for Boston’s top right-handed pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza. That deal was marred when Red Sox officials discovered that Padres general manager A.J. Preller had withheld some medical information on Pomeranz.
Nonetheless, Pomeranz remained with Boston and the results have been mixed. Red Sox manager John Farrell was not surprised as Pomeranz is still getting his feet under him after the stint on the disabled list.
“Drew is going to run into a lot of deep counts,” said Farrell, whose team is just 2-4 on the road.
The Red Sox have dealt with illnesses and injuries over the early part of the season. Still, Boston has managed to play well, and the immediate future is looking brighter, with Jackie Bradley Jr. (right knee sprain) expected to return from the disabled list for the series opener in Baltimore.
“We’re getting to the point with Jackie coming back and getting to full strength,” Farrell said.
Baltimore will counter with young phenom Dylan Bundy, who was moved up a day so he could pitch on normal rest. Bundy was the franchise’s top prospect and has been stellar in his second season as a starter. He is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA, 17 strikeouts and just three walks.
In his last outing against Toronto, he threw six scoreless innings, striking out six and walking just one. Bundy’s only loss came against the Red Sox on April 6.
“It’s a work in progress, like I’ve said from the get-go in spring,” Bundy said. “Hopefully it keeps getting better.”
Baltimore has one of the most powerful lineups in the major leagues. However, the Orioles struck out 35 times in three games against the Reds.
Nonetheless, the Orioles are 5-0-1 in series this month.
“The pitching has been really good,” said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who had the go-ahead RBI in the 10th inning that gave Baltimore a 2-1 victory over the Reds in the series finale. “It seemed a lot longer than 11 days. But it’s good we’re going home.”