Orioles-Red Sox Preview

The Boston Red Sox are highly unlikely to reach the postseason.

If they can’t beat the last-place Baltimore Orioles, such a playoff

run will be virtually impossible.

All-Star Clay Buchholz tries to beat the Orioles for the fourth

straight time when this series continues Tuesday at Fenway

Park.

Trailing Tampa Bay by 6 1/2 games in the AL wild-card race with

12 to play, the Red Sox (83-67) have little chance of advancing to

their fourth consecutive postseason. Boston does have two series

remaining against the division-leading New York Yankees, whom it

trails by eight games, but the Red Sox haven’t helped themselves

lately by dropping three of four, including Monday’s 4-2 loss to

Baltimore.

Buchholz (16-7, 2.48 ERA) will try to get Boston back on track

after he did the same for himself in Wednesday’s 5-1 win at

Seattle. After going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his previous three

outings, the right-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball for

his first victory since Aug. 22.

“He came back and he was real crisp, and you could see his

fastball had a lot of life on it today,” manager Terry Francona

told the Red Sox’s official website.

The Orioles know how that looks all about how tough Buchholz can

be. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in his last three

starts versus Baltimore, including a five-hitter in an 11-0 victory

at Camden Yards on June 4. His only other career shutout came was a

no-hitter against the Orioles on Sept. 1, 2007.

Buchholz, though, will now face a Baltimore club that has won 11

of 15 overall and eight of 10 on the road.

“It’s just been a long time since we’ve played this well down

the stretch,” second baseman Brian Roberts said. “Everyone is

playing well. Our starting pitchers are going deeper and deeper in

the game and giving us a chance to win.”

Baltimore (60-90), which is 28-17 since Buck Showalter took over

as manager Aug. 3, will give the ball to Brad Bergesen (7-10,

5.03). The right-hander needed just 95 pitches for his second

career complete game, a 3-1 victory over Toronto last

Wednesday.

“That one felt really good,” Bergesen told the Orioles’ official

website. “Our team has been playing so well, it just makes it so

much better.”

Bergesen, who needs one win to surpass his total from his 2009

rookie season, has yielded two runs or fewer in seven of his last

nine starts.

He is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts versus Boston this

season.

Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez, 3 for 7 against Bergesen, is

batting .407 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last six

games.

Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott is batting .462 in four

games at Fenway this season, but is 1 for 13 lifetime versus

Buchholz.

The Orioles, who lost 29 of 36 in Boston from 2006-09, are 3-4

there in 2010.