Orioles-Red Sox Preview
No team has hit more home runs this season than the Baltimore Orioles, and opponents are having a particularly tough time lately keeping them inside the park.
However, they'll likely take any offense they can get against Brandon Workman on Wednesday as they try to wrap up a rare sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Baltimore (85-59) maintained its 10-game AL East advantage on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox, its 10th in 13 games. The win puts the Orioles in position for just their second sweep of three games or more at Boston since 1995.
It also reduced Baltimore's magic number for its first divisional crown since 1997 to nine.
"Until it's at zero and we've clinched a spot, we've got something to do," said Adam Jones.
Jones hit his 25th homer while Alejandro De Aza connected for his first two as an Oriole. De Aza is 8 for 20 in five games since being acquired from the White Sox and he's 9 for 16 with six extra-base hits and five RBIs in his last four versus Boston.
The Orioles' 191 home runs lead baseball and they've hit 28 over their last 16 contests.
They struggled in a 1-0 loss to Boston on June 10 when Workman (1-8, 4.90 ERA) held them to one hit over 6 2-3 innings. He hasn't allowed a single run in 10 2-3 career innings versus Baltimore, yielding four hits.
However, Workman is 0-8 with a 6.04 ERA in nine starts since that victory. He was in position for a win Thursday against the Yankees, exiting after six innings with a lead after giving up three runs, but Koji Uehara surrendered two runs in the ninth in a 5-4 loss.
"It may not have been the biggest numbers I've ever put up, but I felt it was coming out of my hand well and, more importantly, I was keeping the ball down for the most part today," Workman told MLB's official website.
Kelly Johnson is the only current Oriole with a home run against Workman.
Baltimore will start Wei-Yin Chen (14-4, 3.69), who has won two straight starts against the Red Sox and held them to four hits over seven innings in a 6-0 victory on June 11. The left-hander will look to be more aggressive after issuing three walks in two of his last three starts. He had walked two or fewer in 28 of his previous 30 outings.
Chen is 5-1 over his last 10 road starts.
The Red Sox (63-82) have just two runs over their last three games and things don't figure to get any easier with Dustin Pedroia possibly set to miss the rest of the season. He sat out Tuesday due to soreness in his left wrist and hand.
"I could rest, continue to play or (have) surgery," said Pedroia, who is hitting .278 with a team-leading 72 runs through 135 games. "There's three things we can do. We'll come up with a plan the best we can that's best for the team."
Brock Holt is expected to replace Pedroia in the field, though he missed a fourth straight game because of an illness. Will Middlebrooks was also bothered by an illness, exiting in the sixth inning.
Middlebrooks and Yoenis Cespedes are a combined 2 for 21 during the three-game slide with Middlebrooks striking out five times, though he's is 8 for 19 against Chen. This is also a favorable matchup for Daniel Nava, who is 7 for 13 with a homer off Chen.