Last night the Red Sox handed the Orioles just their second loss at home since mid-may, and will look to make it three in their rubber match in Camden Yards this afternoon.
The Red Sox send Jon Lester (9-6, 4.50 ERA) to the hill in search of his third consecutive quality start, despite getting hung with the loss in both of his last appearances. Lester has been finding his rhythm as of late; sporting a 3.55 ERA over his last two starts, including 12 strikeouts over 12.2 innings pitched and allowing just three walks.
Lester seems to have an up and down relationship with this Orioles line-up, as he’s managed to hold the team to a combined .248 batting average and has recorded 64 strikeouts over 234 at-bats.
However he’ll also be staring down four batters (Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Hardy, and Machado) carrying career batting averages against him well over .260. Wieters has been a tough out for Lester despite striking out 10 times, he’s also recorded a .378 batting average against Lester with two doubles, a triple, and seven runs batted in.
The Orioles will need to put runs on the board early if they’re going to take this series, as it will be struggling right-hander Jason Hammell (7-7, 5.20) toeing the hill for them tonight.
Hammell is coming off of back-to-back losses against Toronto and Kansas City, both of whom are under .500 for the season. After being rocked by Toronto to the tune of six runs, he managed to hold Kansas City to three runs, working around 10 hits allowed in both appearances.
Stephen Drew, who’s two homeruns led the Red Sox to victory last night won’t be likely to repeat as hero. Hammell has kept Drew down in 17 career at bats against him, with drew only finding three hits over 17 career at-bats.
However the rest of the Red Sox line-up is looking at another opportunity to break out of its slump. With Pedroia and Saltalamacchia all mired in bad stretches at the plate, they’ll step into the box knowing Hammell is a guy they’ve all been able to hit.
Last 10 games: 5-39 / .128 BA / .186 OBP / 2 BB
Career vs. Hammell: 6-14 / .444 BA / .500 OBP / 2 BB
Last 10 games: 4-31 / .129 BA / 10 SO / 3 BB
Career vs. Hammell: 2-5 / .400 BA / 1 SO / 1 BB