There’s one thing I know for sure about tonight’s game in Boston. Unless Jeremy Guthrie contracts the Bird Flu between now and game time, the Red Sox aren’t putting up 19 runs tonight. Not even in Fenway.
It’s hard to imagine that a 6-3 ball club would need their ace to play the role of stopper, but it sure feels like that’s the position he’s being put in tonight. The last quality start the Orioles had was from Guthrie, six days ago against Tampa Bay. They’re 2-2 since then, but it sure feels like 0-4. The Eaton/Bass batting practice session on Sunday, Koji’s welcome to Arlington on Monday, George Sherrill’s ‘exciting’ performance on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s 19 run pounding had us all crying mercy.
It doesn’t get any easier. The Red Sox have scored just 37 runs in 9 games, and stand last in the upside down AL East at 3-6. They’re hitting .242 as a team, and with the exception of Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay, they don’t have a starter hitting over .233. It’s tough to imagine that trend will continue this weekend, considering the Orioles’ 6.67 team ERA, and the friendly confines of Fenway. You’d have to think the Red Sox hitters are licking their chops right about now.
I guess the good news for the Orioles is that they’ll only see one lefty over the weekend in Lester, keeping their lefty heavy lineup with favorable matchups for most of the series. It will be interesting to see what Trembley does against Lester, considering his thin bench. In case you were wondering, the Red sox have two lefties in their bullpen- Okajima and J. Lopez.
The Orioles’ web site still lists no starter for Monday morning’s game. Frankly, the Orioles should be praying for rain on Monday. If they can escape Boston without having to feed Hendrickson to the wolves, they’ll be better off. Further, if they want to keep this streak of winning series in order, they’re far more likely to do it in a three game set. You can’t understate the importance of divisional games with the unbalanced schedule, and taking two of three would go a long way. Here’s hoping the Sox bats stay cold, at least until Tuesday.
It looks like Matt Wieters is turning it up a notch. A 2 for 5 last night with a homer raises his average to .261. I’m in the camp that believes that Wieters should have made the Opening Day roster, so it’s good to see him getting on track. The faster he gets here, the better. You have to admit, sticking Wieters in the 7 or 8 hole would sure make the bottom third of the lineup look a lot more formidable.
As far as predictions go, I’m not sure what to expect this weekend. I’ll assume Guthrie will turn in a performance good enough to win tonight, and the bats will see to it. Eaton vs. Beckett tomorrow sure looks like a loser. I have no idea what to expect out of Uehara on Sunday. He’ll be on five days rest, which is good, I guess. I’m just hoping these starters can keep it close and eat some innings. Probability says the O’s will be playing to salvage a split come Monday morning.