Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
BALTIMORE – Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox have answered a slow start out of the blocks by running full speed ahead over the last eight contests. Betts collected 15 hits to help Boston claim six wins in that stretch heading into Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the host Baltimore Orioles.
The 24-year-old Betts extended his hit streak to five games with a bases-clearing double in the 10th inning of Thursday afternoon’s 4-1 triumph over Toronto. Fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi is 10-for-21 during his five-game hitting streak and had one of his three singles against Friday starter Dylan Bundy in Boston’s 8-1 rout of Baltimore on April 11. Jonathan Schoop increased his hitting streak to eight games with a homer in Thursday’s 2-1 victory in 10 innings versus Cincinnati, marking the third time he went deep in a stretch that began with another solo blast against the Red Sox in a 12-5 win on April 12. Baltimore posted a 6-3 mark on its completed road trip and begins a six-game homestand against a Boston club that has won just three of seven away from Fenway Park.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, NESN Plus (Boston), MASN2 (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (2-1, 1.86)
Pomeranz answered a stellar season-opening start versus Baltimore with a difficult one against Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing five runs on as many hits – including two homers – in 4 1/3 innings of a no-decision. All was not lost for the 28-year-old as he struck out 10 while tossing 103 pitches as he works out the kinks following a forearm injury. Pomeranz owns a 1-2 mark with a 4.97 ERA in five career games (two starts) versus Baltimore, which he limited to just one run on four hits over six innings on April 11, and has kept Schoop hitless in five career at-bats.
Bundy sandwiched brilliant performances versus Toronto around a solid one against Boston, but sustained his lone loss despite a strong performance versus the Red Sox on April 11. The 24-year-old ran into trouble in the seventh of that contest, with one of the two runs driven in by Dustin Pedroia’s infield single charged to him to finish off his three-run performance. Bundy was moved up a day in order to pitch on normal rest, with manager Buck Showalter shuffling left-hander Jayson Aquino to the mound for his major-league debut on Saturday.
1. Boston CF Jackie Bradley Jr., who belted a homer with Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, is expected to be activated and in the starting lineup after being sidelined with a strained right knee.
2. Orioles 1B Trey Mancini launched two of his team’s five homers against the Red Sox in the last meeting and is 8-for-20 with eight RBIs and five runs scored in his last seven games.
3. Pedroia, who is just 2-for-16 in his last four contests, went 3-for-8 with four RBIs in the first two games versus the Orioles.