Baltimore Orioles: Red Sox at OPACY Series Preview

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 16: Hanser Alberto #57 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 16: Hanser Alberto #57 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

After being swept by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles look to take advantage of a struggling Boston squad coming into town.

The AL East has been one of the more surprising and unpredictable divisions in baseball. Most Baltimore Orioles fans figured the Yankees would be in the lead.

However, even after a disappointing series, most Baltimore fans probably didn’t expect their team to be at .500. Boston’s expectations surely weren’t high coming into the 2020 season, although most didn’t think they would hold the worst record in the AL.

For Boston fans, it hasn’t been a pretty sight to watch. The Red Sox have lost several key pieces from last year including 2018 MVP Mookie Betts. Other significant departures include David Price (opted out of the 2020 season), Brock Holt, Jhoulys Chacín, and Rick Porcello. The injury bug has hit the team hard with their top two starters –Chris Sale is out with Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodríguez problems related to COVID-19 – on the IL for the rest of the season.

If there is ever a time to have a bounce-back series, it starts tomorrow. Boston is a depleted team whose confidence is wearing down with each game played. Baltimore is still in the hunt, needing another win streak to keep them in the race nearing the halfway mark through the season. The O’s offense matches up well with Chance Sisco, Anthony Santander, Hanser Alberto, and Pedro Severino all putting up very respectable numbers.

Boston has given up seven or more runs in 12 of their 25 games to date. While the Orioles have scored five or more runs in just over 70 % of their games this season. The O’s should have no problem scoring with a combination of poor pitching by Boston and the explosive Baltimore bats.

Game One (8/20)

The Orioles will see Nathan Eovaldi on the mound on Thursday. Eovaldi defeated Baltimore on Opening Night giving up just one earned run in six innings pitched. We could see the Orioles stack up lefties as Eovaldi’s career batting average indicates a large gap favoring left-handed bats. It would be no surprise if Santander hits a few long balls this series as he gets to know Eutaw street better every game.

Asher Wojciechowski will toe the rubber in the first game of the set. In his last game, he earned his first win holding the Nationals to three runs. Wojciechowski has had success against the Red Sox in his career. Last season he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Boston, striking out ten.

Game Two (8/21)

John Means looks to get back on track after failing to make it through an inning in his last start against the Nationals. He will likely be on a short leash having only pitched just seven-ish innings in 2020. Expect to see newly acquired Jorge Lopez coming in relief to give the O’s some quality innings before the bullpen is called upon. Boston’s starter is to be determined.

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Game Three (8/22)

Game three belongs to Alex Cobb, the O’s most reliable starter thus far. Cobb’s last start marked the longest for the club at 6 2/3 innings pitched. Several players in the Boston lineup have mashed Cobb through their careers. JD Martinez is hitting .526/.550/.947 in 19 AB’s and Christian Vasquez is .714/.733/.786 in 14 AB’s against Cobb. Mitch Moreland also has two career home runs off of the right-hander.

If Cobb can get a feel for his sinker and splitter, Baltimore will have a good chance to be victorious. Martín Perez will pitch for Boston on Saturday. Perez has a 4.32 ERA at Camden Yards in four career starts.

Game Four (8/23)

Wade LeBlanc will suit up for Baltimore on Sunday. 2020 hasn’t been caring for the lefty who has been incapable of getting through four innings in his last two appearances. He will need to be careful against a Red Sox team who has shown spurts of power during the season. LeBlanc will need to keep the ball down as he doesn’t have “swing and miss” stuff.

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Boston will send out Zach Godley. The righty was acquired by Boston this season after previously pitching with Arizona and Toronto in 2019. Godley has been on and off this season. He previously let up 8 earned runs against Tampa Bay, then gave up one run to the Phillies in his last start. This game could be in the double digits with both starters having shaky starts to the season. The Orioles should be smart, but free-swinging against the inconsistent Godley.