The Red Sox will look to maintain their dominance against the Baltimore Orioles when the two clubs meet Saturday night at Fenway Park.
It is the second of three games between the teams, the first of which resulted in a 4-3 Boston win. The Sox are now 56-17 against the O's since the start of the 2006 season.
The pitching matchup is a good one. John Lackey, who has had great success against Baltimore, opposes rising star Brian Matusz, the only pitcher on the entire Orioles staff with a win this season.
WHEN AND WHERE
Orioles (2-15) vs. Red Sox (7-10) Saturday, April 24, 7 p.m. (NESN) Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
Boston has won nine straight against Baltimore.
LHP Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (1-1, 5.63 ERA)
Just when we thought Lackey was the one constant amid a woeful start for the Red Sox, he added to their misery with a horrid start on Patriots' Day. In just 3 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, Lackey gave up eight runs on nine hits.
He'll have a shot at getting back on track against the Orioles. In 12 career starts vs. Baltimore, Lackey is 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA.
This will be Boston's first look at Matusz, the former first-round pick of the Orioles who figures to be their staff ace for years to come. The lefty has struck out 23 in 18 2/3 innings and has yet to allow a home run.
Lou Montanez, LF Adam Jones, CF Nick Markakis, RF Miguel Tejada, 3B Matt Weiters, C Luke Scott, DH Ty Wigginton, 2B Rhyne Hughes, 1B Cesar Izturis, SS
Marco Scutaro, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B Victor Martinez, DH Kevin Youkilis, 1B Mike Lowell, 3B Jason Varitek, C Bill Hall, RF Jeremy Hermida, LF Darnell McDonald, CF
The Sox' bullpen had gone 21 1/3 innings without allowing a run before Daniel Bard gave up a two-run homer to Adam Jones on Friday.
David Ortiz's home run Friday night was his first in the month of April since April 30, 2008. His walk in the eighth was the 800th of his career.
Boston picked off Baltimore shortstop Cesar Izturis on Friday, the first opposing base runner caught by the Sox since April 7. Thirty-three straight stolen base attempts had been successful against Boston in between.
Center fielder Adam Jones snapped an 0-for-16 slump with his homer in the seventh Friday.
The Orioles left a season-high 12 men on base Friday.
Jeremy Guthrie is winless in four outings this year, despite posting a quality start in each.
BLACK AND BLUE
A CT scan done on left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury revealed hairline fractures in four ribs. He is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list April 27. Team officials said his treatment plan will not change and he will resume play only when his symptoms are gone.
Manager Terry Francona said Friday that Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to pitch at some point in the Baltimore series next weekend, but has not confirmed exactly when. In three rehab starts in the minors while recovering from a neck strain, the right-hander was 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA.
Center fielder Mike Cameron was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sports hernia. His term is retroactive to April 19. Both he and Ellsbury will travel with the team to Toronto if they are able to perform any baseball-related activities.
Third baseman Miguel Tejada returned Friday from a strained hip abductor.
Closer Mike Gonzalez will not need surgery on his shoulder. He is expected to start a rehab program in Florida and could be ready in mid-March.
Second baseman Brian Roberts went on the DL on April 10 with a strained abdominal muscle. He is out until May.
Outfielder Felix Pie is out three months with a torn muscle in his back.
Before the series began, Francona was asked if he had any trepidation facing the Orioles since they are due for a win. His response was classic in its simplicity.
"They can beat us if we don't play good," he said.
Well, the Sox walked seven and managed just six hits Friday night and still found a way to defeat the O's. Until we see Baltimore end this drought, we will expect more of the same.