Game 134: Orioles at Red Sox - Lackey aims to beat Bud, Birds

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox stole the show in the series opener against the Orioles, blasting Baltimore right out of Fenway Park, 13-2. Shane Victorino hit two home runs and drove in seven and Mike Napoli hit a moon shot that may have orbited the earth a few times before landing on top of the parking garage on Lansdowne Street.

Boston (78-55) pushed the O’s further away from the top of the AL East and, thanks to an Angels comeback against the Rays, lead Tampa Bay (74-56) by 2.5 games with 29 to play. Baltimore (70-60) is now 6.5 back, just a game ahead of the Yankees (70-62).

The scoreboard watching will continue and Red Sox Nation hopes the Sox keep performing like Tuesday night. John Lackey goes to the bump on Hump Day (WOOO WOOOOOOO!). Lackey is 8-11 with a 3.17 ERA, but only has one win in his last seven starts – 1-5 in that stretch. He has pitched 13.1 innings over two starts against the Orioles this year with a 1-1 record and allowed seven runs and 16 hits with six strikeouts.

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Nava, LF
6. Napoli, 1B
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Bogaerts, SS

Lackey, P

Bud Norris starts on the hill for the O’s. Norris, acquired via trade from the Astros, is 3-1 for the Orioles in six starts, but has a 5.53 ERA. He had a no-decision in his last start against Oakland, giving up seven runs on nine hits in just 4.2 IP. The Orioles have won all five games Norris has started, with his loss coming against Arizona in a game he entered in the bottom of the 14th and gave up the walk-off win to the D-backs. His only start against the Red Sox this year came with Houston, when he allowed five runs on nine hits in a 6-1 Boston win.

Bogaerts makes Fenway starting debut
The Fenway Faithful will get their chance to rightfully welcome Xander Bogaerts to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark tonight, as he makes his first start at Fenway. Bogaerts, who is batting ninth and playing third base tonight, is hitting .333 (3-for-9). He entered Tuesday’s game in the top of the ninth inning and played third base, with Will Middlebrooks sliding over to second.

Pitchers on point
Boston’s starting rotation has been magnificent over the past couple of weeks. In the last 13 games, the Sox starters have a 2.75 ERA and received another great outing by Felix Doubront Tuesday, when he went 6.2 innings and gave up just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.

This and that
David Ortiz needs seven more hits to eclipse the 2,000 mark for his career. With eight more games at home, it’s very likely he will accomplish the milestone in front of the home fans…Dustin Pedroia has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .424 with six doubles, a triple, four RBI and seven runs scored…Napoli is 6-for-13 in his last three games, a small sample-size to be certain. He has two homers, five RBI and four runs scored in that span.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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