Arguably the two best hitting teams in the American League will tangle at Fenway Park this week in what will be the Red Sox’ biggest series since they won the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals in October of 2013.
Yes, it’s been that long since there was a “big game” on Yawkey Way.
The Baltimore Orioles will be in town Tuesday through Thursday and both teams are dead even in the standings. The Sox and O’s both have a record of 36-26 and are tied atop the division.
Not only are the two identical in record, both Boston and Baltimore thrive due to their offense but have not had consistent pitching so far in 2016. The Red Sox are Orioles are ranked 17th and 19th, respectively, in team ERA. The O’s have a beefy 4.14 ERA and the Sox own a 4.22 staff number. For reference, the No. 1 team on the list – the Cubs – have a remarkable 2.62 team ERA.
Adding to the “mirror” aspect of this series, David Price (7-3, 4.63 ERA) and Chris Tillman (8-1, 3.01 ERA) will be the starting pitchers Tuesday at Fenway. Both have glistening records but their ERAs aren’t all that impressive.
Price has been steadily lowering his ERA since allowing a bunch of runs early in the season. It was 6.00 as recently as May 12 but was 5.11 by the end of May and is now at 4.63. Price has had three outings in a row in which he’s given up just two earned runs and he hasn’t given up for than three runs in a game since May 7 against New York.
“[The Giants game last week] was probably my best outing of the year,” Price said, via MassLive.com, about the game in San Fran in which the Sox lost, 2-1, but in which he worked 8.0 innings and allowed just three hits. “I’ve definitely thrown the ball better. It’s still not myself by any means. To me, I haven’t dominated the way I know I’m capable of throwing. I know that these five starts when I was throwing the ball extremely well I probably wouldn’t bee too excited about the way I threw the baseball that day because I know, even thought it’s gotten better, I know I’m capable of throwing the baseball a lot better than what I have.”
The Sox’ best pitcher to date this season, Steven Wright (7-4, 2.09 ERA), will throw on Wednesday against Baltimore and the O’s will counter with Kevin Gausman (0-3, 3.45 ERA).
Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 6.06 ERA) is slated to get the ball in the series finale on Thursday.
The Orioles lead all of baseball in home runs this season with 99 on the year. The Red Sox have the 10th most, with 77. Mark Trumbo (20 home runs), Manny Machado (16), Chris Davis (16) and Adam Jones (11) lead the hard-hitting O's in dingers.