MLB Game Preview - Orioles v Red Sox

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10:05 AM PT11:05 AM MT12:05 PM CT1:05 PM ET13:05 ET17:05 GMT1:05 10:05 AM MST12:05 PM EST12:35 PM VEN21:05 UAE12:05 PM CT, August 18, 2019
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts  Attendance: 36,350

Pressure on Eovaldi as Red Sox seek sweep of O's

According to STATS
According to STATS

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

  1. The Red Sox are 27-8 in their past 35 meetings with the Orioles, winning six of nine since the teams split a four-game set at Fenway Park from April 12-15. Baltimore's only home series win since the All-Star break came against Boston from July 19-21.
  2. After winning two of three at Cleveland to complete a stretch of 34 games in a 35-day span with a 15-18 record (including a suspended game against the Royals), the Red Sox return home where they've dropped seven of 10. Boston's 30 wins through 62 home games is its lowest total since it had 29 in 2014.
  3. The Orioles became the first team to be eliminated from division title contention with Wednesday's 6-5 defeat to the Yankees, their ninth loss in 10 games. During that stretch, Baltimore has a 9.84 ERA and allowed 32 home runs. That's the worst ERA by any team in any 10-game span since 2007.
  4. Since 2017, J.D. Martinez leads MLB with 17 home runs against the Orioles, ranks second with 38 RBI and third with a 1.278 OPS (minimum 50 PA). Andrew Benintendi is fourth with 34 RBI during that span and Mookie Betts is tied for fifth with 32.
  5. Trey Mancini's 1.205 OPS against the Red Sox this season is the best in the majors and his .377 average (20-for-53) is fourth-best (minimum 40 PA). Mancini is tied for second with Rafael Devers in MLB with 31 extra-base hits against the AL East, trailing only Xander Bogaerts (32).
  6. Devers is 13-for-24 (.542) with two homers, five doubles and seven RBI in his last five games. He collected hits in eight straight plate appearances before grounding out Wednesday. Devers and Ted Williams are the only Red Sox players ever with a 40-double, 25-homer season before turning 23.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/16/2019 thru 8/18/2019

Less than 24 hours from taking the mound for the Boston Red Sox in his first start since April 17, the pressure on right-hander Nathan Eovaldi grew immensely.

On Saturday evening, the Red Sox announced ace left-hander Chris Sale was headed to the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation that could end his season. The team is seeking a second opinion on Sale's test results from renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but until then, it's looking for others to fill the void as it continues to try and work its way back into the American League wild-card picture.

"We gotta keep going, that's the way it is," manager Alex Cora said. "As of now, somebody has to step up. That's the way it works in this business, and we know it."

Enter Eovaldi. The 29-year-old returns to the rotation with the Red Sox seeking a sweep as they host the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a three-game series Sunday afternoon.

Eovaldi (1-0, 5.77 ERA) has made 11 relief appearances for Boston since returning July 22 from surgery to remove a loose body from his throwing elbow. He'll be opposed by Orioles left-hander Ty Blach (0-1, 13.94).

Eovaldi was set to return to the rotation last week once it was announced that trade acquisition Andrew Cashner was being moved to the bullpen after several ineffective starts. But a need for quality late-inning relief has kept Eovaldi from making the transition until now, as Boston received back-to-back strong starts from Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez in the first two meetings of the series.

"I just try to keep that mentality the same and be ready to pitch," Eovaldi said. "As long as I'm prepared for it, I'm ready to go. If I'm told otherwise, I'll be ready for that."

As a reliever, Eovaldi posted a 5.40 ERA in 13 1/3 innings, pitching no more than two innings in an appearance. His last three outings have each been scoreless, and he'll face a team in Baltimore against whom he's 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA against over seven starts in his career.

The Red Sox have had their way with the Orioles through this point of the series, winning 9-1 on Friday and 4-0 Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to four straight. In addition to strong starting pitching, third baseman Rafael Devers has continued to lead the offense with three home runs and 10 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.

The Orioles, meanwhile, have lost 11 of their last 12 games, including six straight. A bright spot came in Saturday's loss, though, as 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey made his long-awaited major league debut in the eighth inning and struck out a pair, hitting 100 mph on the stadium gun.

"It's crazy," said Harvey, who has battled numerous injuries since being drafted. "After I got the first pitch out of the way, it was so much easier to breathe. It was fun."

Blach, claimed off waivers by Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants earlier this month, will make his second start with his new club. Against the New York Yankees in his Orioles debut on Monday, the southpaw was tagged for seven runs (six earned) over four innings.

Blach will face the Red Sox for the first time in his career.

--Field Level Media

Updated August 18, 2019

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