Red Sox Hope to Keep the Winning Going Against Visiting Orioles

Red Sox Hope to Keep the Winning Going Against Visiting Orioles The Red Sox love playing at home, and they love taking on the last-place Baltimore Orioles. This week, they get both, and so far, they've been making the most of it.

The Sox annihilated the O's last night, winning 10-0 behind a Clay Buchholz gem and a pile of home runs, and they'll look to keep things rolling in the second game of a quick two-game set. As sweeps go, this one's as easy as any.

When and Where

7:10 p.m. ET (NESN), September 9, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Records

Red Sox (80-58, 2nd place in AL East)
Orioles (56-82, 5th place in AL East)

Skinny

In the series opener, the Red Sox' offense was out in full force. Everyone, from Dustin Pedroia to David Ortiz to Alex Gonzalez, got in on the act, and the Sox rolled to victory. If the offense can stay blazing-hot, the Red Sox are in good shape to cruise from here to October. The rest of this homestand will be a good litmus test for a Sox team aiming to secure a postseason berth.

Starting Lineups

Orioles Red Sox
Brian Roberts, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Felix Pie, CF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Nolan Reimold, LF J.D. Drew, RF
Nick Markakis, RF Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Melvin Mora, 3B David Ortiz, DH
Matt Wieters, C Jason Bay, LF
Luke Scott, DH Mike Lowell, 3B
Ty Wigginton, 1B Jason Varitek, C
Cesar Izturis, SS Alex Gonzalez, SS

Pitching Matchup

RHP Paul Byrd (1-1, 7.56 ERA) vs. RHP Jason Berken (4-11, 6.07)

What are the Sox to expect from Byrd? In his first start of 2009, he was brilliant, throwing six shutout innings against the Blue Jays on August 30. He gave up just three hits. Five days later, he got walloped in Chicago, giving up seven runs on 10 hits and getting knocked out in the third. Which Paul Byrd shows up this time? It's anyone's guess.

Berken, on the other hand, has pretty much constantly been the bad Berken. Out of 19 starts in this rookie season, he's made just three quality starts. His control has been hit-or-miss, his power stuff has been nonexistent, and his ERA has hovered in the 6-plus range all season. Perhaps Berken will pan out in future seasons (he's only 25), but this clearly isn't his year.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Red Sox are 46-21 at home this season.

They have 297 doubles, tops in the AL.

Paul Byrd is 2-4 in seven career starts against the Orioles. He has a 4.30 ERA and a .272 opponents' batting average.

Kevin Youkilis has a .558 slugging percentage, fifth-best in the AL.

Jason Bay has a .918 OPS, tenth in the AL.

Dustin Pedroia is tied for third in the AL with 97 runs scored.

Alex Gonzalez has hit safely in 12 consecutive games. He is 15-for-46 (.326) over that stretch.

Victor Martinez has 21 home runs, second in the majors among regular catchers. Teammate Jason Varitek is tenth on that list with 14.

Mike Lowell is hitting .318 at home this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury is 60-for-69 (.870) in stolen base attempts.

J.D. Drew has a 1.151 career OPS against the Orioles. He has eight home runs in 40 games.

David Ortiz is slugging .521 against them. He has 27 home runs and 102 RBIs.

Orioles
The Orioles have a minus-101 run differential this season.

Jason Berken has faced the Red Sox twice in his rookie season. He's 0-2 and has allowed 10 runs in 6.1 innings.

Brian Roberts leads the majors with 49 doubles.

Nick Markakis has 168 hits, tied for fifth in the AL.

Matt Wieters has just a .316 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. He has homered only twice in 153 at-bats.

Nolan Reimold is 8-for-22 (.363) so far in September. He has homered twice.

Melvin Mora is 2-for-14 (.143) in his career against Paul Byrd. Both hits are home runs.

Ty Wigginton is 5-for-7 (.714) against him. He has homered once and tripled once.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Jed Lowrie (left forearm) has made his return from the 15-day DL. He made an appearance in Tuesday night's game as a defensive replacement, but did not get to bat.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his final rehab start for the Salem Red Sox tonight in the opener of the Carolina League divisional playoffs. He will then return to the big-league club.

Miguel Gonzalez has been on the 60-day DL since March 27. He is recovering from surgery on his right elbow.

Orioles
Brad Bergesen has been on the 60-day disabled list since July 31 with a left leg contusion.

Rich Hill has been on the 60-day DL since July 28 with an inflamed left shoulder.

Koji Uehara has been out since June 24 with right elbow tendinitis.

This Date in Red Sox History

In 1990, Seattle starter Matt Young struck out four Boston batters in the first inning — Jody Reed, Carlos Quintana, Wade Boggs and Mike Greenwell. Mariners catcher Dave Valle dropped the third strike on the Boggs strikeout, allowing Boggs to reach base with two outs, and Greenwell then became the fourth Boston K of the inning.

Overheard

"It took the offseason to let last year sort of settle in so I could really understand why things happened and what I was doing wrong to let those things happen. As much as last year was a struggle, it helped me a whole lot. If something happens where things feel like they’re getting away from me, I’ve been in that position before, and I know how to try to avoid it."
–Clay Buchholz, in the Boston Herald, on his improvement over the past year.

Press Box

Red Sox
The Red Sox slugged their way to victory.

Clay Buchholz keeps improving.

Catching up with a couple of former Sox.

Orioles
The Orioles clinched a losing season in 2009.

Brian Roberts endures the ups and downs.

Welcome aboard, Justin Turner.

MLB
Tim Lincecum's back pain is cause for concern.

Matt Holliday powered a Cardinal victory.

What's going on with Brad Lidge?

Outlook

The Sox have to feel comfortable taking on Baltimore. They've had the Orioles' number all season, especially at Fenway Park. It's a shame that the O's are taking the field at Fenway for the last time this season — the Sox had better make the most of it. There's nothing more unpredictable than a September start from Paul Byrd, but then again, there's nothing more predictable than the O's at Fenway. This is the Red Sox' game to lose.

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