Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (3 games)
In their first games the Sox have seen a lot. Being 4-2 they have shutout and been shut out. 4-2 is a very impressive record for this ball club as it is the best start they have had in 7 years. Today is the day…Opening Day! To start their year at home the Sox will see defending Wild Card champions Baltimore Orioles for a three game set. The Orioles coming off back-to-back losses will be fighting to stay over .500 while the Sox come off a huge shutout against the Jays after winning 13-0 Sunday. Boston saw a lot of power out of Will Middlebrooks who hit 3 long bombs in Sunday's game versus former CY Young winner, R.A. Dickey. After the game Middlebrooks said "It felt like a normal day, It ended upping a special day. Three homers, two streakers and about seven paper airplanes on the field. It was crazy all around." Hopefully we will see this power all over again in this series. A nervous moment in this series came on Saturday when John Lackey who just returned since 2011 suffered a right bicep strain which may cause him to miss a few starts.
Game 1 for this series we will see Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz take on Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles. Rookie, Jackie Bradley Jr. will be missing his first game this year after being brought up from A and AA as Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava will both get the start. Other than that the Sox will see their normal lineup as Iglesias is back 100% now after suffering an injury Friday night in Toronto. For this game and the rest of the series the Sox will need to focus on getting the runs early before having to face the Orioles relievers. The Sox will need to bring out their power versus the lefty's unlike what we have seen so far this year versus Pettitte and Happ. Game 2 we will see Ryan Dempster make his Red Sox home debut versus Jake Arrieta for the Orioles who had a bit of a struggle in his first game allowing 5 runs over 5 plus innings. Both pitchers had a struggle in their first game but will hopefully come through for a better matchup on Wednesday. For all Oriole pitchers this week location and control is key. Luckily they have been able to come out with some wins but for especially these 3 pitchers we will see control has been a struggle. One Wednesday we will hopefully see Stephen Drew join the lineup at shortstop to make his season debut as a new comer to Boston this year. Onto Game 3 we will see Felix Doubront who had a decent outing but not decision in Friday's win against the Jays and he will face Baltimore's number 4 right hander, Chris Tillman.Doubront, as per usual, needs to throw strikes more consistently and efficiently in order to pitch deep into games. If he gives them six innings with three runs allowed nearly every time out, however, then he's still doing his job as the back-end starter. More would always be appreciated, however, and he certainly has the stuff for more. So far the Sox have had great success against the right handers and I think this one will show that again. For all these games both lineups are pretty familiar with the starter especially in game 1. The rookies are the main guys who have yet to see the start they will face. For this series the Orioles will need to come off strong right from the start especially considering the Sox coming off a huge win against the Blue Jays. Maybe we will see the Orioles drop from being a wild card contender to where they were just 3 years ago and hopefully see the Sox rise back up the ladder.
This series will set the first 3 of 17 home games for the Sox in April and they hope for a strong start. They will have to continue to work without Ortiz and now Lackey for a little while but the Sox still have a very strong lineup that should be a great start to a great year!
Game 1: Buchholz vs. Chen Red Sox win 5-2
Game 2: Dempster vs Arrieta Orioles win 6-4
Game 3: Doubront vs Tillman Red Sox win 5-3