A matchup with the Boston Red Sox should provide a true test of his progress.
Cabrera looks to end a personal seven-start losing streak against the Red Sox as the Orioles conclude a two-game series with their AL East rivals Wednesday at Camden Yards.
With the offseason trade of ace Erik Bedard, the Orioles (20-19) were in need of one of their remaining starters to fill the void. The wildly inconsistent Cabrera (3-1, 3.54 ERA) didn’t seem a likely candidate after he went 9-18 with a 5.55 ERA last season and led the AL in losses (18), walks (108) and runs allowed (133).
The 6-foot-9 right-hander, however, has been a different pitcher this year. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts and Baltimore is 6-1 in his eight appearances, excluding a suspended game against the White Sox on April 28.
Cabrera had one of the best starts of his career Thursday, pitching a three-hitter in a 4-1 win at Kansas City. He struck out seven and walked just one, using a hard, biting sinker to coax 18 groundball outs.
“In previous times, he’d start to spin out of control and he doesn’t do it any more. He keeps his focus,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “He keeps his poise. He gets himself back in his rhythm. He goes back to pitching. He’s not a thrower. That’s the big difference.”
No team has given Cabrera more trouble than Boston (24-18), which has beaten the right-hander in seven straight meetings. Cabrera has a 7.44 ERA in those seven starts, walking 29 in 32 2-3 innings. He is 1-9 with a 7.84 ERA in 11 career games against the Red Sox.
Scott was mired in a 7-for-55 skid before going 3-for-3 against Beckett.
“It says something about our team, the way the guys came back against one of the better pitchers in baseball,” Trembley said. “We had to work for it. We had to earn it.”
The Orioles, winners of four of five after a season-high five-game skid, were without third baseman Melvin Mora (shoulder) and catcher Ramon Hernandez (wrist). Both could be out of the lineup again Wednesday.
Boston lost for the fourth time in five games overall, and dropped to 1-8 on the road against AL East foes.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona will miss this series following the death of his mother-in-law. He was replaced by bench coach Brad Mills, now 5-4 when subbing for Francona.
Jon Lester (2-2, 4.06) gets the start for the Red Sox, looking to rebound from a disappointing outing. He was unable to follow two straight impressive starts with a third as he allowed five runs - three earned - and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings at Minnesota on Friday. The left-hander yielded only one run and five hits in 14 innings while striking out 11 in his previous two appearances.
Lester has won all three career starts against the Orioles, compiling a 3.00 ERA. He gave up four hits through seven innings in a 4-0 victory at Camden Yards on Sept. 7.