The last time the Red Sox entered Camden Yards, they were feeling pretty good about themselves.
Not only had they dominated the Orioles for years in what some call “Fenway South,” but the club had won seven of nine entering the series.
Three days later, Boston left town having suffered its first sweep in Baltimore in nearly 36 years.
The Sox return to the scene of the crime on Friday for three against the Orioles, who are 4-2 this season against Boston but 11-36 against all other opponents.
Clay Buchholz did not appear in that sweep back in early May. But it was just after that series that he began to put together a phenomenal run he hopes to continue when he gets the call Friday night opposite Chris Tillman.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (31-24) at Orioles (15-38) Friday, June 4, 7:05 p.m. Camden Yards, Baltimore
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won 10 of the last 11 season series.
RHP Clay Buchholz (7-3, 2.73 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
Buchholz has never won five straight starts in his career, but is a safe bet to do so against the O’s, who have scored a grand total of five runs in their last five games. During his personal four-game winning streak, Buchholz has an ERA of 1.32. He is tied for second in the American League with seven wins and his overall ERA ranks fifth.
We all remember the young righty throwing a no-hitter against Baltimore in his second career start back in 2007. He also was 2-0 against the O’s last year.
Tillman, who made 12 starts for Baltimore in 2009, was recalled before Saturday’s start against Toronto, during which he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings. The former second-round pick has never faced the Sox.
Corey Patterson, LF Miguel Tejada, SS Nick Markakis, RF Ty Wiggington, 1B Luke Scott, DH Matt Wieters, C Adam Jones, CF Scott Moore, 2B Cesar Izturis, SS
Marco Scutaro, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B David Ortiz, DH Kevin Youkilis, 1B J.D. Drew, RF Adrian Beltre, 3B Jeremy Hermida, LF Jason Varitek, C Darnell McDonald, CF
Thursday marked the first time since May 21, 1995, that the Sox had 18 hits and lost a game.
Infielder/outfielder Bill Hall went 8-for-14 with a double, triple, two home runs, nine runs scored, four walks and two stolen bases during Boston’s 4-3 homestand.
Prior to giving up a home run to Jack Cust in the eighth inning Thursday, reliever Manny Delcarmen had allowed only one home run to a left-handed batter in 176 appearances since August 21, 2007, the fewest in all of baseball during that stretch.
Baltimore has scored three runs or less 11 times during its current 3-14 stretch.
The O’s are 10-27 in night games and 10-25 against righties.
Outfielder Luke Scott is batting .354 (23-for-65) with five home runs since May 12.
BLACK AND BLUE
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the disabled list Friday with rib cage soreness. The move was retroactive to May 25. He has resumed baseball activities and will travel with the team to Baltimore.
Outfielder Mike Cameron was given Tuesday off due to soreness in his side. He was re-evaluated by a specialist Wednesday morning and may return by Friday.
Starter Josh Beckett will take 10 days off before resuming any baseball activity, the latest blow to his slow recovery from back ailments.
Right-hander Boof Bonser recovered from an extremely rocky outing May 22 to throw six shutout innings against Norfolk and then seven innings of one-run ball against Charlotte in his last two rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bonser has been on the DL with a right groin injury since the end of spring training. His 30-day rehab stint ends soon, so there may be news on his future with the team forthcoming.
Infielder Jed Lowrie continues to try to work back from mononucleosis. He took batting practice and fielded grounders at Fenway last week.
Second baseman Brian Roberts, who has been on the DL since April 10, is expected to play in an extended spring training game Friday and will soon go on a minor league rehab assignment.
Closer Mike Gonzalez threw a bullpen session Wednesday as he recovers from a left shoulder strain. He is eyeing a mid-June return.
Outfielder Felix Pie is expected to be out until July with a torn muscle in his back.
Reliever Alfredo Simon is eligible to return from the DL for a strained left hamstring June 8.
With the way Buchholz is throwing the ball and with the way the Orioles are swinging the bat, it would be crazy to not give the Sox a decided advantage heading into the series opener.
Then again, that was the general feeling the last time Boston visited Camden Yards, and that series resulted in general manager Theo Epstein ripping the club as it returned home below .500.