Boston Red Sox (97-63) at Baltimore Orioles (83-77)
Saturday, September 28 - 7:05 PM EST
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Baltimore Orioles decided to keep all of their starters going this weekend against the Boston Red Sox despite being out of the playoff race. That tactic did not work at all in the series opener and the Orioles will attempt to even the set when they host the Red Sox again on Saturday. Boston grabbed a 12-3 victory in the series opener and is on the verge of clinching homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Baltimore spoiled Boston’s postseason hopes in the final regular-season series of 2011 and was determined to induce some smaller-scale damage on the Red Sox this time around as well. But after pounding out 16 hits in the series opener, Boston remains two games ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the race for homefield advantage with two games left. The Orioles are losers of seven of their last nine.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Jon Lester (15-8, 3.67 ERA) vs. Orioles LH Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 4.03)
Lester is 3-0 in his last four starts and is looking to close out the regular season with his 10th straight quality start. The Washington native surrendered a single earned run in each of his last two outings and four of the last six. Lester’s last loss came against Baltimore on Aug. 29, when he was charged with three runs on five hits in six innings.
Chen is winless in his last six starts and could not make it through five innings at Tampa Bay on Monday, surrendering two runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 4 1/3 frames. The Taiwan native faced Boston twice in the last six starts and allowed a combined 11 runs on 19 hits - four home runs - in 9 1/3 innings. Mike Napoli homered off Chen in each of those two contests.
1. Red Sox closer Koji Uehara recorded his 100th strikeout Friday, becoming the first Boston reliever since 1993 to reach that mark.
2. Baltimore 1B Chris Davis (138) is leading the major-league RBI race over Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (137).
3. Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury (broken foot) is still working up to a full game. He was lifted in the seventh Friday.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 8, Orioles 4