The Boston Red Sox will attempt to extend their four-game winning streak Saturday when they visit the Baltimore Orioles at 7:05 p.m.
Although the Orioles swept Boston in the opening series of the season at Fenway Park, the Red Sox have not lost since.
Boston outscored the Tampa Bay Rays 26-9 in a three-game sweep, and Thursday went on the road for the first time and spoiled the Orioles’ home opener with a 7-3 decision.
Boston will start Garrett Richards (0-1) who had a forgettable first start with the Red Sox against the Orioles last Sunday.
Richards, a righty who signed a one-year deal with Boston worth $10 million, was pulled after two-plus innings in a game the Orioles eventually won 11-3.
The Orioles led 3-0 in the first inning and Richards was replaced after loading the bases with no outs in the third. Baltimore ended up getting six runs (all earned) off seven hits against Richards who enters his second start sporting a 27.00 ERA.
“It’s obviously disappointing that I didn’t come out and throw a complete game shutout,” Richards said afterward. “But I’ve got 32 more starts. Yeah, today didn’t go great, but I threw plenty of strikes and some competitive pitches and threw some great pitches that honestly just ended up not going our way. That’s part of the game of baseball.
“I’m not going to change anything that I’m doing right now. I felt great in my delivery. I felt strong. My arm felt good. It’s just about building on it and gaining some momentum.”
The Orioles will counter with left-hander Bruce Zimmermann who fared better in his first start than Richards did.
Zimmermann (1-0, 4.50 ERA) picked up his first career victory in that Sunday win as he allowed three runs on four hits with five strikeouts through a career-high six innings.
The run support certainly helped.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Zimmermann said. “My goal was to go out and give my team a quality start and was able to do that. The win was the cherry on top. To watch the offense come alive like that was very encouraging. … To get the win was just a big sigh of relief.”
Last year, Zimmermann made his big-league debut on Sept. 17 against Tampa Bay and a week later pitched well in an extended appearance out of the bullpen in a blowout loss to the Red Sox. In that one (a 9-1 Boston victory), he went four innings, giving up a run on two hits, striking out five while walking just one.
Zimmermann had a solid spring for the Orioles, giving up only one hit in his first three appearances.
A native of the Baltimore area who grew up rooting for the Orioles, Zimmermann was originally a fifth-round pick by the Atlanta Braves. He was traded to Baltimore as part of the trade for Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day in 2018.
For Boston, J.D. Martinez is hitting .433 and leads the Red Sox with two home runs, seven doubles and 12 RBI. Christian Vazquez leads the team in hitting at .458 with three doubles and two RBI.
For Baltimore, Cedric Mullins leads the team in hitting (.448), while Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle lead the O’s with five RBI apiece.
–Field Level Media