Orioles-Red Sox Preview
Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles in Boston’s
second straight blowout victory in the series.
Boston may have bigger concerns, though, than possible Baltimore
John Lackey will try to bounce back after yet another poor
outing – the shortest of his Red Sox career – as the AL East rivals
continue their four-game set at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
After opening this series with a 10-4 rout Thursday, the Red Sox
(53-35) jumped on Zach Britton for eight first-inning runs Friday
and cruised to a 10-3 victory. David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to
highlight the big opening inning.
Things got ugly in the eighth when Ortiz took exception to
Baltimore closer Kevin Gregg throwing inside on two pitches. On the
second, Ortiz started to the mound and players from both benches
and bullpens came onto the field, although nothing developed.
Things quickly escalated, though, after Gregg got Ortiz to fly
out on a 3-0 pitch. Gregg said he yelled at Ortiz for not running
toward first and the Red Sox designated hitter met the Baltimore
reliever halfway between the mound and the first-base line where
the two exchanged punches that never connected. The benches and
bullpens cleared again and the brawl took several minutes to settle
“I think you show them that we’re not backing down. We’re not
scared of them – them and their $180 million payroll,” Gregg said.
“We don’t care. We’re here to play the game. We have just as much
right to play the game here and we’re going to do everything we can
While both teams wait for word on possible punishments, Boston,
which has eight homers in the series, will go for its fifth
straight win Saturday. The AL East-leading Red Sox have won eight
of nine, averaging 6.7 runs.
Baltimore (36-50), meanwhile, has been outscored 50-18 during a
five-game losing streak. The team’s starters are 0-4 with a 12.00
ERA during that stretch, allowing 36 hits in 18 innings.
The Red Sox may need their offense to produce in a big way again
with the struggling Lackey (5-8, 7.47 ERA) on the mound. The
right-hander lost his third straight start Monday, giving up seven
runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings in a 9-7 defeat to Toronto.
That outing pushed Lackey’s ERA to 9.45 during the three-game
skid. He is 3-4 with a 9.17 ERA in seven home starts this
Lackey and the Red Sox denied reports last week that he needed
Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and manager Terry Francona
reiterated that opinion after Lackey’s latest start.
“Again, we’ve been through everything,” Francona told Boston’s
official website. “We put him on the disabled list because of the
elbow. His velocity is staying pretty much consistent. I think at
times, movement and location is what probably bothered him,
consistency, things like that. We certainly check with everyone all
Lackey is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts against the Orioles,
going 2-1 with a 2.80 ERA in five with the Red Sox.
The Orioles will hand the ball to Alfredo Simon (1-1, 4.64), who
will make his fourth career start and first since 2009 when he blew
out his right elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Simon hasn’t pitched more than 4 2-3 innings in seven relief
appearances this year. He went 4 1-3 at Texas on Monday, allowing
six runs and nine hits.
The right-hander pitched five innings of relief against the Red
Sox last year, giving up three runs and two hits in six
Boston is 23-7 at home against Baltimore since the start of the