xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Looks like the Red Sox brought more than a few thousand loud and loyal fans with them from New England this week. I'm no weatherman, but a glance outside tells me that tonight's series opener is in doubt. Hard to see through the downpour, but I think there's a man fishing in my street. That doesn't bode well.

Boston would like nothing more than to get a game in today after having a pair rained out over the weekend. But I'm guessing the Orioles wouldn't mind taking an extra day to savor a feel-good sweep of the imminently sweepable Kansas City Royals.

Advertisement

It wouldn't hurt the O's to dodge the Red Sox for a day, either. Boston has won 11 consecutive games against the Orioles and has outscored them 45-19 in six matchups this season. The pitchers scheduled to throw Tuesday (Curt Schilling) and Wednesday (Tim Wakefield) have combined to limit Baltimore to seven earned runs in 26 innings this season, a 2.42 ERA. Tonight's starter, Josh Beckett, seems like a pushover compared to those two.

So what's the over-under on runs for the Orioles in this three-game set? Seven? That might be high.

Advertisement

Forgive my pessimism (or is it realism?) on the heels of a three-game win streak, but what can I say - beatdowns at the hands of the BoSox have become routine. Still, there have been some encouraging signs for the O's of late. Kris Benson tossed his best game as an Oriole (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K) to beat the Royals on Saturday, and lefty reliever Kurt Birkins extended his scoreless innings streak to seven.

Ramon Hernandez has snapped out of a prolonged drought at the plate with eight hits in 18 at-bats on the homestand. And Nick Markakis had five hits in 12 trips last week, including a clutch game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning against the Royals on Sunday. Javy Lopez is 4-for-8 with a homer and four RBIs since returning from the DL on Saturday, and Corey Patterson has picked it up as well. More on Patterson later in the week.

Brandon Fahey performed capably in the leadoff role (7-for-19 in four games), and it sounds as if Brian Roberts could be back before the week is through. Fahey likely will stick around as a utility infielder with Chris Gomez set to miss about eight weeks with a broken bone in his hand.

Now for the bad news – starter Daniel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder, according to Sun blogger Roch Kubatko. No word yet on how long he'll be sidelined.

The move means Bruce Chen likely will start Friday night in the series opener against the Nationals. The O's won't need a fifth starter until May 23 in Seattle, with Hayden Penn, John Halama and Birkins all options, according to Roch. Penn is 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 22 Ks in 23 1/3 innings at Triple-A Ottawa, for those who are interested.

On that note, the sun has come out and it's looking like a beautiful night for baseball. Rain? What rain? I'm a "stadium half-full" kind of guy. Bring on the Red Sox.

This week's matchups

  • Monday – Red Sox (Josh Beckett-R) at O's (R. Lopez), 7:05 p.m.
  • Tuesday - Red Sox (Curt Schilling-R) at O's (Chen), 7:05 p.m.
  • Wednesday - Red Sox (Tim Wakefield-R) at O's (Bedard), 7:05 p.m.
  • Friday – O's (Benson) at Nationals (Michael O'Connor-L), 7:05 p.m.
  • Saturday – O's (R. Lopez) at Nationals (Tony Armas-R), 7:05 p.m.
  • Sunday- O's (Chen) at Nationals (Livan Hernandez-R), 1:05 p.m.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement