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Orioles on deck: What to watch Friday vs. Red Sox

Orioles (28-24) vs. Red Sox (29-24)

Where: Camden Yards

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Alec Asher (1-3, 3.77 ERA) vs. Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (3-6, 4.21 ERA)

What to watch

1. Offense rising. With six homers and 17 runs over the past two games, the Orioles lineup is awakening and their top players are beginning to perform. Mark Trumbo is 8-for-17 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs over his past five games. Chris Davis has homered in back-to-back games with four RBIs. Adam Jones has also homered in each of the past two games with six RBIs. Manny Machado ended a four-game hitless drought with two hits Thursday. Jonathan Schoop has two homers and eight RBIs during a five-game hitting streak. It will be interesting to see if that can continue against Rick Porcello, who has allowed oodles of base runners of late (52 in 32 innings over his past four starts).

2. Bounce back. Alec Asher had the shoe on the other foot, needing to be bailed out rather than doing the bailing, in his first start since moving into Ubaldo Jimenez's spot in the rotation. Asher allowed six runs in two innings, and Jimenez backed him up with two earned runs in six innings out of the bullpen in a loss at the Houston Astros. Asher gets another shot to show he deserves to be in the rotation. He provided quality starts in each of his first two starts this season, and will be challenged to provide another by a potent Red Sox lineup.

3. Home sweet home. It's no coincidence that the Orioles have begun to win again during a homestand. The Orioles have won three of four games, all at home, to improve to 18-8 at Camden Yards this season. That gives them the best home record in the American League and the third best in all of baseball.

Orioles lineup

RF Seth Smith
CF Adam Jones
3B Manny Machado
DH Mark Trumbo
1B Chris Davis
2B Jonathan Schoop
LF Hyun Soo Kim
SS J.J. Hardy
C Caleb Joseph

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