BOSTON RED SOX (29-35)
at BALTIMORE ORIOLES (32-31)
First pitch: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Baltimore -120, Boston +110, Total: 9
An AL East battle continues Wednesday at Camden Yards as the Orioles and Red Sox square off in the rubber match of their three-game series.
After capturing the 2013 World Series, Boston has not had a great follow-up season, and has dropped six of its past eight contests. The Sox were able to take Tuesday's game against Baltimore though, behind a tremendous pitching effort where their staff threw a two-hit shutout. Starter Brandon Workman was tremendous in his fourth career start as he went 6.2 innings while allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and zero walks, and getting backed by an RBI from 1B Mike Napoli (.267 BA) in a 1-0 victory. Napoli has been solid since returning from the DL, going 4-for-11 over his past three games with a home run and 2 RBI. The Orioles currently sit 5.5 games behind the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, and are 6-4 over their past 10 games played. They took the first game of this series with a big pitching performance (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 Kís) by Bud Norris but could muster no offense on Tuesday. 1B Chris Davis was 0-for-3 in that game with three strikeouts and has gone just 8-for-39 (.205) with 15 K's over his past 10 games played. For this contest, RHP Rubby De La Rosa (1-1, 2.84 ERA) will get the start for Boston and will face LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-2, 4.13 ERA) of host Baltimore. Playing on the road has not been good for the Red Sox this season with a record of 14-18 in away games while the O's are only 13-15 in their home contests. The matchup between these two clubs has been quite lopsided recently, as Baltimore holds a 28-18 edge over the past three seasons, including 14-10 at Camden Yards. Wednesday has been a solid day for Boston over the past two seasons with a 26-11 record in that time, but the club is just 11-for-27 versus an AL team with an on-base percentage of .330 or worse this year. As far as injuries are concerned, the Red Sox will continue to be without OF Shane Victorino (hamstring) and 3B Will Middlebrooks (finger) who are still on the DL, while the Orioles still have star C Matt Wieters out indefinitely with a strained right elbow.
Rubby De La Rosa has been spectacular in his first two starts with the Red Sox this year, allowing just 13 hits in 12.2 innings while producing a 13:2 K/BB ratio. He did struggle slightly against the Tigers in his last start on Friday though, going 5.2 innings while giving up four runs on nine hits (2 HR) and two walks with five strikeouts. De La Rosa has always been a solid strikeout pitcher and fanned 8.8 batters per nine innings in 10 starts (53.1 IP) at the Triple-A level this year, but had trouble with his control (3.9 BB/9). He has also been spectacular in his two starts this year at leaving men on-base, with 90.2% of runners unable to reach home. The right-hander has had very limited experience against Baltimore, facing just three batters in two-thirds of an inning of relief work while giving up one run. De La Rosa has not been able to see the majority of the Oriolesí lineup, but will need to be careful when facing OF Nick Markakis (.307 BA) who has gone 14-for-40 (.350) with 3 home runs and 8 RBI over his past 10 games. He should not be too worried when going against 3B Manny Machado (.222 BA), who is 0-for-14 with six strikeouts over his past four contests with a suspension looming for intentionally throwing his bat towards third base this past weekend. Bostonís bullpen is 9-11 with a stellar 2.89 ERA and 1.23 WHIP this year and has saved 15-of-19 games (79%). Closer Koji Uehara (0.65 ERA, 13 saves) has been nearly perfect this year while going 13-for-13 in save opportunities and compiling a 38:4 K/BB ratio in 27.2 frames.
Wei-Yin Chen has been great over his past two starts coming into this game, going 1-0 while allowing just nine hits (2 HR) in 11.2 innings with 10 strikeouts and only one walk. He has never been a shutdown starter with an ERA just over 4.00 in each of the past two seasons, but Chen currently has a career 6.9 K/9 rate and has shown impressive control (1.4 BB/9) in the 2014 season. He has been unlucky though, with batters hitting .321 BABIP against him compared to the league average of .294. Chen has started against the Red Sox nine times in his career, going 3-3 (6-3 team record) with a brutal 5.25 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. Wednesday will be his third outing against Boston this season, and in his last start against them on April 21, he pitched five decent innings (4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's) in a winning effort. 2B Dustin Pedroia has never had any issues against Chen in his career, going 12-for-24 with six extra-base hits and 5 RBI versus the lefty. DH David Oritz has also done well in the matchup (6-for-15, 1 HR, 5 RBI) while 1B Mike Napoli is just 3-for-15 against the southpaw while hitting two solo homers and striking out five times. Baltimoreís relievers have combined to go 10-9 this year with a solid 3.70 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, but have converted only 18-of-28 (64%) save chances. Zach Britton (0.83 ERA, 5 saves) is 5-for-6 in his save opportunities since taking over the closer role for injured Tommy Hunter, and has benefited from batters hitting just .225 BABIP and forcing grounders 77% of the time.