Three things to watch as the Sox face the O's in Baltimore this week:
How will Beckett bounce back?
Josh Beckett will get the ball Tuesday night in the opening game of the series. He is coming off of a rough outing last Wednesday at Fenway Park against the Rangers where he allowed eight runs on eight hits, including three home runs in five innings of work.
The Red Sox lost the game 10-9 and have now lost eight of the last 10 games Beckett has started. The right-hander has only one win since May 20 and his ERA is 5.47 over those 10 starts.
The team is now 7-12 in games Beckett has started this season, with his personal record being 5-9. In comparison, the team was 20-10 in games he started last season.
Will the Red Sox bats stay hot?
The Red Sox have a number of players swinging hot bats of late, and that trend will need to continue as the team pursues the second Wild Card.
Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, and has a seven game hit streak. In those seven games he has hit .466 with four doubles, five RBIs and has scored eight runs.
Adrian Gonzalez has been on a tear since the All-Star break, especially in the month of August. This month he is hitting .422 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs.
Jacoby Ellsbury has hits in 10 of his last 14 games, and since his return from the DL is hitting .274.
When will Ortiz return?
David Ortiz has been eligible to come off the disabled list since Aug. 1 as he recovers from an Achilles injury suffered on July 16.
Last week Ortiz set a target of this past weekend to return to the lineup, but that did not happen and now Ortiz isn’t sure when he will be able to play.
Over the past week or so the slugger has been taking batting practice and going through agility drills, including running the bases in an attempt to get him ready for a return.
“It hasn’t healed like we were expecting,” Ortiz said to reporters in Cleveland. “I had a good day the other day at Fenway. I ran and I was feeling pain, but not as bad. After that one day, I got sore again. It’s a roller coaster, bro.”
The Red Sox have gone 11-15 in the time Ortiz has been sidelined.