By Matt Straub
The Boston Red Sox are a mess. This isn’t breaking news. What they’ve done to their fans these days, however, makes those of us who live in “the Nation” even more of a mess. This week we’ve seen the team beat up a bit on the Kansas City Royals while also showing some of their glaring weaknesses. There’s talk they could bounce back into the race with a good stretch against the division rivals on the coming part of the schedule, and there’s also debate over who the Red Sox should trade at the deadline.
With the season capable of going a number of different ways, Boston takes on the Orioles, who are hot lately and are one of the teams the Sox are chasing as they try desperately to get back into something resembling contention. Baltimore has made itself a true contender with a recent tear, and will look to bury the Red Sox once and for all this week.
If nothing else, the Nation should have a better idea of which way the year is going after this series.
Baltimore Orioles (36-33, 4th place AL East)
at Boston Red Sox (31-40, last place AL East)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Ubaldo Jimenez (5-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (2-4, 5.32)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Bud Norris (2-5, 7.57) vs. Clay Buchholz (4-6, 3.87)
Thursday, 1:35 p.m.
Miguel Gonzalez (5-4, 3.33) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 3.13)
Is it possible the Red Sox have some? Taking two of three from the American League All-Stars in Kansas City isn’t a season-saving stretch by any means, but it helps and showed signs of life from the Sox for the first time in what seems like forever. The offense exploded and the pitching was halfway decent for a change. Playing the O’s this week and starting a stretch against division foes will tell us what the last three games meant. Is Boston getting hot or was it just a good weekend? The Orioles have won seven of 10 and have put themselves back in the race in the East. They are awful on the road, however, so this is also a big stretch for them as well.
Three Orioles To Watch
1. My favorite part of the Astros-Cardinals computer hacking scandal is the notes showing the Astros once asked the Sox for some of their top prospects for Bud Norris. At one point he was a solid pitcher, but now he’s awful, and Boston needs to win the Wednesday game considering Buchholz is pitching well.
2. We’ve talked about Adam Jones a lot this year, but now he’s limited thanks to a shoulder injury which has kept him to DH duty lately. We’ll see if he can play any defense against the Red Sox, who don’t always play much themselves.
3. Chris Davis isn’t the masher he once was anymore, but he’s dangerous if he gets a hold of one.
A trip to the Trop and the least favorite spot for the Sox is next.