Orioles on deck: Zach Britton activated, plus what to watch Tuesday at Red Sox

Orioles (16-8) vs. Red Sox (13-12)

Where: Fenway Park


First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Alec Asher (1-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. Red Sox LHP Chris Sale (1-2, 1.19 ERA)

Britton in, Wright out

The Orioles activated closer Zach Britton (left forearm strain) from the disabled before Tuesday's game and optioned right-hander Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk.

Britton has converted all five of his save opportunities and has a 1.29 ERA in six appearances. He has not pitched since April 14.

Wright did not pitch after being called up Monday.

What to watch

1. First look at Sale. The Orioles go up against left-hander Chris Sale in a Red Sox jersey for the first time tonight, and he has been exceptional through five starts. Somehow, he has a 1-2 record despite averaging about one earned run, 10 strikeouts and one walk in 7 2/3 innings per start this season. He has struck out at least 10 and pitched at least seven innings in every start, and has not allowed more than two earned runs in a single game. Sale, who made his major league debut against the Orioles at age 21 in 2010, is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 11 career appearances (five starts) against Baltimore. It is his fourth-highest ERA against an opponent he has faced at least 10 times.

2. Reaction. Will the heat in the season series between the Orioles and Red Sox cool tonight? After Adam Jones had racial slurs directed at him by fans at Fenway Park on Monday, the Manny Machado-Dustin Pedroia-Matt Barnes controversy seems smaller than it already did and it might be time for tempers to calm, and for these teams (and their fans) to just relax and let some meaningful April baseball unfold. It will be worth watching how Red Sox fans react after becoming a national story for the wrong reasons Tuesday and whether good behavior will take over this powder keg.

3. The baseball. Alec Asher makes his second Orioles start 2 1/2 weeks after his first one -- and it was a good one: one earned run on three hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Orioles stayed hot with five more runs Monday and are averaging 6.4 over their past five games. The Red Sox are 4-7 over their past 11 games, averaging 2.7 runs during that time. The Orioles lead the Red Sox by 3 1/2 games in the standings with a chance to increase that padding over the next three days.

Orioles lineup 

RF Joey Rickard
CF Adam Jones
3B Manny Machado
DH Mark Trumbo
1B Chris Davis
2B Jonathan Schoop
LF Trey Mancini
SS J.J. Hardy
C Caleb Joseph