Boston Red Sox (31-20) at Baltimore Orioles (28-21)
Tuesday, May 31 - 7:05 PM EST
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Boston Red Sox came into Baltimore with a chance to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the American League East and took a step toward accomplishing that goal in the series opener. The Red Sox will try to make it two in a row over the Orioles and push the gap to three games in the division when they visit Baltimore for the second of a four-game set on Tuesday.
Boston beat the Orioles at their own game in Monday’s opener, slugging three home runs in the sixth inning or later to turn a tight game into a 7-2 rout. The Red Sox had some trouble getting outs late in games while dropping two of three in Toronto over the weekend but managed to get the bullpen an extra day of rest as Steven Wright tossed his third complete game on Monday. Baltimore is one of the best slugging teams in the majors with 69 home runs but is having trouble pushing runs across over the last week-plus. The Orioles are 2-6 in their last eight games and are averaging 2.5 runs in those six setbacks.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (2015: 10-6, 3.85 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (0-2, 3.24)
Rodriguez was a shoo-in for a rotation spot before going down with a knee injury in spring training, and his return prompted the team to push Clay Buchholz to the bullpen. The 23-year-old Venezuelan surrendered three or fewer earned runs in 17 of his 21 starts during his 2015 rookie campaign. Rodriguez, who was acquired from Baltimore in a trade for Andrew Miller in 2014, struggled against his original organization with an 0-2 mark and a 4.20 ERA in three starts.
Gausman has yet to earn a win in seven starts this season and struggled through five innings at Houston on Thursday. The LSU product was ripped for three home runs – matching his total from the first six starts – and charged with four runs on five hits and one walk. Gausman has made 10 career appearances – five starts – against the Red Sox and owns a 2-1 record with a 3.12 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 34 2/3 total innings.
1. Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4 on Monday to push his hitting streak to 23 games and lift his batting average to .354.
2. Baltimore RHP Yovani Gallardo (shoulder) came through a simulated game on Saturday with no issues and will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday.
3. Boston DH David Ortiz has homered in each of his last three starts, pushing his season total to 14 and his league-leading RBI total to 47.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3