The Baltimore Orioles can stretch their winning streak to seven games on Saturday when they face the host Boston Red Sox in the second game of a three-game series.
All six of Baltimore’s previous wins in the burst have come on their current road trip. After a loss to Arizona to begin the trek, the Orioles (89-51) took the final two from the Diamondbacks and then swept three against the Los Angeles Angels. On Friday, they pummeled Boston 11-2.
Baltimore, which collected 14 hits on Friday, enters Saturday’s matchup with a four-game lead over second-place Tampa Bay in the American League East.
Boston (72-69) has lost three in a row overall five straight home games.
“We’re not here to teach them how to play ball. We’re here to win games,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We just have to keep playing hard, and we’ll be OK.”
Prior to the series against Boston, Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde announced that the Orioles are returning to a five-man pitching rotation. The Orioles have been using six starters since mid-August.
Hyde said Cole Irvin would shift from a starter into long relief, but added that the plan to go with five starters could change after the weekend.
“We’re looking ahead with our rotation,” Hyde said. “You try to give yourself the best opportunity (to win). When the season is coming to an end, for the last 20-plus games, you start looking ahead a little bit and try to line guys up the best you can.”
Starting pitcher John Means could factor into the team’s pitching plans. Means, who had Tommy John surgery in April 2022, made what is expected to be his final rehab assignment Wednesday, when he pitched five innings for Triple-A Norfolk.
Right-hander Jack Flaherty (8-8, 4.84 ERA) is Baltimore’s scheduled starter for Saturday. The Orioles acquired Flaherty, 27, from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline on Aug. 1. Flaherty was 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 20 starts this season with the Cardinals, and is 1-2 with a 6.66 ERA in five starts with the Orioles.
Flaherty, who will be a free agent after the season, allowed four runs on six hits, including two home runs, in Baltimore’s 8-5 victory over Arizona on Sunday. He struck out seven and walked one. This will be the first time Flaherty has faced the Red Sox.
Boston is expected to start lefty Chris Sale (6-3, 4.46). Sale’s velocity has been down since he returned from a stress reaction in his left shoulder blade that was diagnosed following his first start in June, but he tossed five scoreless innings in Boston’s 7-3 win against Kansas City on Sunday. Sale surrendered two hits, struck out five and walked two.
Sale is 10-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 25 career appearances (19 starts) against Baltimore.
The Orioles have won four of their seven meetings with the Red Sox this season.
–Field Level Media