Series Preview: 5/17-5/20 vs. BAL

Records Entering Series: BAL (13-29, 5th in AL East), BOS (29-14, 2nd in AL East)

The Red Sox welcome their division foes into Boston for a 4-game set. Boston swept Baltimore the last time the two teams squared off, and following a disappointing series loss vs. Oakland they’ll be looking to repeat that result.

Baltimore has actually been pretty decent lately, winning 5 of their last 7, after logging just 8 wins in their first 36 games this year.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups

Game 1: 7:10 EST, Kevin Gausman (3-2, 3.18) vs. David Price (3-4, 4.89)

Game 2: 7:10 EST, Alex Cobb (0-5, 7.06) vs. Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 5.47)

Game 3: 7:10 EST, Dylan Bundy (2-5, 4.53) vs. Rick Porcello (5-1, 3.28)

Game 4: 1:05 EST, TBD vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 4.68)

Hitters to Watch

OAK: Manny Machado – Honestly, this will be Machado every time. He’s by far the best player on the O’s, and Baltimore is likely shopping him around for a move at the trade deadline. The better Machado does, the more return Baltimore can get for him, and so far he hasn’t disappointed, hitting .342 with 13 HR and 38 RBI.

BOS: J.D. Martinez – Martinez has been Boston’s best hitter over the last 2 weeks or so. He’s currently sporting a .344/.395/.644 slash line with 12 HR and a team high 36 RBI. He’s been everything that the Sox signed him to be, taking all of the pressure off of the rest of the middle of the order. Look for him to have another big series vs. a struggling Baltimore pitching staff.

Pitchers to Watch

OAK: Kevin Gausman – Gausman has been arguably Baltimore’s best starter (although the competition isn’t very strong). He’s currently 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA, and he’s impressed with his stuff 7.4 K/9. He’ll go in game 1.

BOS: Steven Wright – Wright’s return from the DL/suspension forced Hector Velazquez to make a phantom trip to the DL to clear room on the roster. Many people were high on Wright, considering he thoroughly impressed the last time he was healthy, but he pitched below expectations in his 1st outing. If he sees any time in this series, it will be interesting to watch.

Matchup to Watch: Christian Vazquez vs. Alex Cobb

It’s no secret that Vazquez has really been struggling, but if there’s any pitcher that could help him break out, it’s Alex Cobb. The backstop is 8-11 lifetime vs. Cobb with 2 RBI. Cobb has also had a pretty down season, so if Vazquez runs into the struggling pitcher in game 2, he may be able to put together a nice game and begin his turnaround.

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