Orioles, Red Sox battle to stay out of AL East cellar


The Boston Red Sox will look to continue building good vibes for the 2021 season as they take on the visiting Baltimore Orioles in the second contest of a three-game series Wednesday night.

The Red Sox (21-34) won the opener 8-3 on Tuesday behind a strong start from right-hander Nick Pivetta in his team debut. Pivetta allowed one run and struck out eight over five innings, giving manager Ron Roenicke reason to gush looking ahead to the team’s rotation next year after rookie Tanner Houck similarly dominated the New York Yankees on Sunday.

“You look at (Eduardo Rodriguez) being back next year. You look at Chris (Sale), whenever he’s able to get after it again. You look at these guys — it’s a good feeling going forward,” Roenicke said.

Boston’s rotation has been its weak spot this season, though its starters have combined for a 1.04 ERA across the last five games. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (3-2, 4.25 ERA) will look to keep the good times going as he takes the mound opposite Baltimore rookie right-hander Dean Kremer (1-0, 1.69) on Wednesday.

Now officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Orioles (23-32) are similarly looking toward the future. Kremer, 24, is a big part of that as one of the team’s top-10 prospects, and he’s impressed through three starts so far, including holding the American League-best Tampa Bay Rays to one run on three hits over five innings last time out.

“He’s soaking up all this experience,” said Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde after the outing. “I think he’s competing well. We’ve been really impressed with his stuff, competitiveness and how he knows how to get outs.”

Kremer, acquired by the Orioles in the 2018 Manny Machado trade, will face the Red Sox for the first time. He hasn’t allowed more than one run in any of his three previous starts and has struck out 20 in 16 innings.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, is looking to end his campaign on a positive note after missing nearly a month due to a calf injury. The 30-year-old has allowed just one run and struck out 11 in eight innings since returning.

“I feel like I’m attacking the zone a lot better these last couple outings,” said Eovaldi, who has served as the team’s de facto ace this season with Rodriguez and Sale sidelined. “Throwing the ball in, mixing in all my pitches. I’m not just relying on the fastball.”

Eovaldi, who is finishing the second season of a four-year, $68 million contract, is 5-1 with a 4.61 ERA in 11 career starts against Baltimore.

With Tuesday’s result, the season series between the Red Sox and Orioles is tied at 4-4 with the two games remaining. Baltimore has a two-game lead on Boston in the quest to avoid the cellar of the American League East standings.

The Red Sox have won three of their last five games. The Orioles have dropped five of their last six.

–Field Level Media

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