The Red Sox hit the halfway point of their season Saturday night in fine fashion against the Orioles, and Boston will look for more of the same Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.
The Red Sox sit just a half-game out of first place in the AL East with a 49-32 record at the halfway mark. With all of the injury problems they’ve had to overcome, to be on a 98-win pace is nothing short of remarkable.
They’ll look to turn the page on the first 81 games with a win and a sweep of the Orioles at Fenway Park.
John Lackey will get the ball with a chance to send the Red Sox to Tampa riding a three-game win streak.
WHEN AND WHERE
Orioles (24-56) at Red Sox (49-32)
Sunday, July 4, 1:35 p.m. (NESN)
Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Red Sox hold a 6-5 series advantage this season.
LHP Brian Matusz (3-9, 4.30 ERA) vs. RHP Jon Lester (9-3, 4.46 ERA)
Lackey’s been somewhat up and down for the Red Sox this year, but he’s still got nine wins to his record and can make it double digits on Sunday. He’s been good lately too, going 2-0 with a 4.12 ERA in his last three starts.
While Matusz’ 3-9 record isn’t too pretty, it’s not a great reflection of the way he’s pitched for the O’s this year. He’s 0-7 in his last 10 starts but, at times, has been a victim of poor run support.
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Bill Hall, 2B
Daniel Nava, LF
Gustavo Molina, C
Corey Patterson, LF
Miguel Tejada, DH
Nick Markakis, RF
Ty Wigginton, 1B
Adam Jones, CF
Josh Bell, 3B
Scott Moore, 2B
Craig Tatum, C
Cesar Izturis, SS
Red Sox manager Terry Francona is one win shy of 900 for his career, a mark that only eight active managers have reached.
The Red Sox have a 49-32 record after 81 games, the 13th straight season they’ve hit the halfway mark with a winning record.
The Sox have won 34 of their last 45 games against the Orioles.
The Orioles are 9-17 under interim manager Juan Samuel, who was ejected in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game.
The O’s have committed 14 errors in their last 12 games.
Ty Wigginton has homered as a first baseman, a second baseman and a third baseman, becoming the first player in the majors to do so this year.
BLACK AND BLUE
Jason Varitek (foot) and Manny Delcarmen (forearm) were placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Saturday with a fracture in his left foot. He suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his foot the day before. He will not put any weight on the foot for 2-3 weeks before being re-examined.
Catcher Victor Martinez was put on the DL on Tuesday with a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb, suffered after taking two foul balls off the thumb during last Sunday’s game in San Francisco.
Clay Buchholz suffered a left hamstring strain running the bases last Saturday in San Francisco. He will not pitch this weekend, but the Red Sox are hopeful he will return to the rotation by Monday or Tuesday.
Outfielder Jeremy Hermida was placed on the DL on June 11 after an MRI revealed five fractured ribs, the result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre one week earlier. Hermida is swinging and doing outfield and base running drills.
An MRI conducted June 9 revealed a new fracture in outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury‘s ribs. Ellsbury, who was placed on the DL on May 28 for the second time this year, has been at the Athletes’ Performance center in Arizona for three weeks but has yet to resume baseball activities.
Josh Beckett is expected to begin a rehab assignment soon as he works his way back from a lower back strain.
Infielder Jed Lowrie remains on the DL after coming down with mononucleosis during spring training. He is playing in extended spring training games.
Righty Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
Second baseman Brian Roberts is out until at least mid-July. He’s played in just four games all season.
Outfielder Luke Scott was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained left hamstring.
Pitcher Mike Gonzalez is out until mid-July with a strained left shoudler.
Outfielder Felix Pie is on his way back from a back injury, but he’s not expected to be ready for this weekend’s series.
A big three-game series with the Rays looms, but the Red Sox need to make sure they take care of business and finish off the sweep of the Orioles before heading down south to Tampa.
With the well-documented injury problems plaguing the Red Sox, they need to build up wins whenever they can. Finishing off the sweep of the lowly Orioles would be a good way to capitalize on that.
Have a question for Mike Cole? Send it to him via Twitter at @MikeColeNESN.