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Orioles on deck: What to watch at Red Sox, plus series matchups

Orioles (62-65) vs. Red Sox (73-54)

Where: Fenway Park

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First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 5.00 ERA) vs. Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (8-14, 4.48)

Series matchups

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.79, 12th); Red Sox (4.88, eighth)

Average: Orioles (.264, fifth); Red Sox (.263, sixth)

Home runs: Orioles (190, third); Red Sox (136, 26th)

OPS: Orioles (.764, 10th); Red Sox (.749, 18th)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (4.92, 28th); Red Sox (3.69, second)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (5.64, 29th); Red Sox (4.00, fifth)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (3.84, seventh); Red Sox (3.16, third)

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Fielding (MLB rank)

Fielding percentage: Orioles (.985, 12th); Red Sox (.982, 25th)

Errors: Orioles (71, t-13th fewest); Red Sox (81, t-eighth most)

UZR/150: Orioles (-6.0, 29th); Red Sox (5.3, third)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (-14, 20th); Red Sox (31, second)

What to watch

1. Stayin' alive. The Orioles visit Boston for the first time since an eventful and contentious series in early May, and now will be looking to keep themselves in the wild-card race. They enter this weekend with five teams between themselves and the Twins, who currently hold the second American League wild card, leading the Orioles by three games. The Red Sox come in 16-5 over their past 21 games, but they're starting to slow down a bit with three losses in their past six games. See if the Orioles can finally build some momentum after a not-so-easy series win over the Athletics.

2. Helly on the rebound. Jeremy Hellickson had such an impressive first two starts with the Orioles, but that has evened out with two poor outings in a row. He has allowed 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings over his past two games. Can he bounce back? He'll have to do so against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, who has won four straight starts since seeing his record slip to 4-14.

3. Differing offenses. This series pits two wildly different offensive clubs against each other. Both have been among the 12 best run-producing teams in the majors, and both hit for high average. The Orioles, of course, ride the home run ball and lead the majors this month with 42. They also lead the AL this month with an .861 OPS. The Red Sox, on the other hand, sit toward the bottom of the major league rankings in homers, but they get on base with the best of them, are among the speediest clubs in the league and scratch out runs creatively with some small ball. Which approach proves better this weekend will be worth watching.

Orioles lineup

SS Tim Beckham

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

CF Adam Jones

LF Trey Mancini

1B Chris Davis

DH Mark Trumbo

C Welington Castillo

RF Seth Smith

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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