Baltimore at Boston
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
Alex Cobb will make his Orioles debut today at Fenway
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox continue to roll and are scoring runs in bunches – something that was a big problem for the team last season. The Red Sox will try to continue the offensive onslaught and clinch at least a split of the four-game series when they host the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
Boston already has three grand slams in the last week – three more than the team managed all of last season – and got a three-run blast in the first inning of Friday’s 7-3 win from Eduardo Nunez to set the tone. The Red Sox already have four players in double figures in RBIs in Hanley Ramirez (12), J.D. Martinez (11), Mookie Betts (10) and Rafael Devers (10), while Betts is hitting .360 with a .620 slugging percentage and 15 runs scored for the top spot in the batting order. The Orioles aren’t getting quite the same level of production from their lineup with the exception of free-agent-to-be Manny Machado, who doubled in a pair on Friday and is batting .316. Machado gets to take his swings on Saturday against Red Sox righty Hector Velazquez while Betts and company will square off against a familiar face in Baltimore’s Alex Cobb.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Alex Cobb (2017: 12-10, 3.66 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Hector Velazquez (1-0, 3.12)
Cobb, who signed his four-year, $57 million contract after the start of spring training, is making his first start with Baltimore after spending the first six seasons of his career in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. “It’s been a little bit of a wild ride the past month,” said Cobb, who made 29 starts with Tampa Bay last season. “It’s honestly the most comfortable I’ve felt being in this locker room, somewhere I’m familiar with, in the clubhouse around guys that I know. Just looking forward to getting this whole thing underway and my season started, get back to some normalcy in my life.” Cobb, who was born in Boston, is 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 14 career starts against the Red Sox.
Velazquez began the season in the rotation and earned a win over the Rays on April 1, allowing one run and five hits while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings. The Mexico native went back to the bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez returned from a knee injury and totaled two runs on three hits in three innings, making both relief appearances against Tampa Bay. Velazquez is making his first career appearance against Baltimore.
1. Ramirez (wrist) sat out on Friday but could return this weekend.
2. Baltimore 1B Chris Davis is 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts over his last five games.
3. Boston LHP Drew Pomeranz (forearm) threw 86 pitches in a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Friday and could make his next start in the majors.