The Boston Red Sox have struggled at home all season, and their inability to beat the Baltimore Orioles is among the biggest reasons. The Orioles improved to 5-0 in Boston with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night and will go for a three-game sweep of the Red Sox on Thursday. Baltimore has won a franchise-record seven straight games at Fenway Park and moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League East with only its third win in the past 10 games.
Boston suffered its third straight loss to drop back to .500 (28-28) and tumble to 13-16 at home. The Red Sox, who have already endured a three-game sweep at home by the Orioles this season, wasted a stellar performance by Josh Beckett, who allowed two runs on five hits in eight innings. Rookie Willie Middlebrooks extended his hitting streak to eight games and boosted his batting average to .321. He has multiple hits in 10 of his first 27 games.
Orioles Red Sox Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Thursday, June 7, 2012
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles LH Brian Matusz (5-5, 4.41 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Clay Buchholz (5-2, 6.58)
Matusz has bounced back from an 0-3 opening month to win four of his last five starts – including a 4-1 victory against Boston on May 22, when he struck out a seasons-high nine and allowed one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He limited Tampa Bay to one run on two hits in a season-high 7 1/3 innings last time out. He is 3-1 in seven starts vs. the Red Sox, but was hammered for six runs in 1 2/3 innings at Boston in September 2011.
Over his last two starts, Buchholz has shown signs of resembling the pitcher who won 17 games in 2010. He struck out seven in eight innings – both season highs – last time out in beating Toronto and has yielded four runs in the last 15 innings while striking out 13 and walking three. He gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings at Baltimore on May 21 but is 5-3 with a pair of shutouts, including a no-hitter in 2007, against the Orioles.
1. Red Sox DH David Ortiz is 1-for-13 with 10 strikeouts against Matusz.
2. Baltimore has won 12 of the past 15 meetings against Boston.
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka will start for Boston on Saturday vs. Washington, nearly one year since undergoing Tommy John surgery.