Orioles-Red Sox Preview
Relatively unknown Kyle Weiland has some big shoes to fill as he
takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox.
The team’s potent offense, however, could take some pressure off
the 24-year-old during his major league debut.
Weiland replaces the injured Jon Lester as the Red Sox try to
extend their winning streak to six and complete a four-game sweep
of the reeling Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
After outscoring the Orioles 20-7 during the first two games of
this series – including Friday’s heated 10-3 victory – Boston
(54-35) prevailed 4-0 on Saturday behind a strong effort from John
Lackey and two RBIs apiece from Josh Reddick and Kevin
With their fifth straight victory, the Red Sox guaranteed
themselves at least a share of first place in the AL East heading
into the break. Boston, which leads the majors with 5.33 runs per
game, is batting .310 with 11 homers during its current winning
The club’s starting rotation has also thrived during that span,
going 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA. The Red Sox, however, now turn to a
young right-hander in hopes of extending their run.
Lester, 14-0 with a 2.33 ERA in 17 career starts against
Baltimore, was placed on the 15-day DL after being removed from
Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Toronto with a strained muscle in his back.
While Boston would surely love to have Lester available, manager
Terry Francona is excited about Weiland’s potential.
“It’s his day. He’s lined up for it,” Francona told the Red
Sox’s official website. “He’s really been doing well. As much as
has kind of gone wrong with health, this is the flip side where
it’s really exciting. I’m kind of looking forward to it.
“He throws hard. He’s got a live arm – he always has. He’s
starting to command, he’s competing and he’s starting to mature as
Weiland went 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A
Pawtucket but was especially sharp in June, when he posted a 2.36
mark in six games. He’ll look for his momentum to carry over
against the slumping Orioles (36-51), who have been outscored 87-36
during a 1-11 skid.
“It’s a very hard stretch. Nothing’s going right,” shortstop
J.J. Hardy said. “When the pitchers do a good job, we don’t hit.
When we have the hitting, we don’t have the pitching. When the
bullpen does well, we don’t hit. Always something.”
Baltimore, meanwhile, gives the ball to Mitch Atkins (0-0, 1.50
ERA), who gave up one run and eight hits in six innings but didn’t
receive a decision in his season debut, a 4-2 loss at Texas on
“I’m real proud of Mitch. He took advantage of the opportunity,”
manager Buck Showalter said of the right-hander after making his
first career start. “He got out of there on a good note. Hopefully
it bodes well for his future.”
Atkins will look to quiet the surging Jacoby Ellsbury, who
finished a homer shy of the cycle Saturday. The speedy outfielder
is batting .438 during a 25-game hitting steak versus
The Orioles, hitting .121 with runners in scoring position this
month, own the second worst road record in baseball at 14-29.
They’ve dropped five straight in this series overall and 22 of 27
at Fenway Park.