Baltimore (41-53) at Boston (55-39)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Jul 24, 2009
  • TV: MASN, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After picking up a road win in their first game following the All-Star break, things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Boston Red Sox on the rest of the trip.

Returning home to face the AL East rival Baltimore Orioles seems like an ideal way for them to get back on track.

The Red Sox look to avoid suffering a sixth consecutive defeat for the first time in nearly three years Friday night when they face the Orioles, losers of nine straight at Fenway Park.

Boston (55-39) had a three-game lead over New York in the AL East after it opened a six-game trip with a 4-1 win over Toronto last Friday night.

Since then, the Red Sox have dropped a season-high five in a row to fall into second place. Boston, averaging 1.8 runs and batting .193 during its skid, is in danger of losing six straight for the first time since Aug. 25-30, 2006.

“There’s no explanation for it,” outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) said after a 3-1 loss at Texas on Wednesday night. “We obviously have very good hitters on the team. We’re just going through a rough patch.”

The Red Sox have averaged 4.6 runs and batted .252 while going 24-25 on the road. They’ve been far better at home, averaging 5.6 runs and hitting .271 at Fenway Park, where they have the best home winning percentage in baseball at .689 (31-14).

That’s due in part to their success against the Orioles (41-53). Baltimore suffered a four-game sweep in Boston from April 17-20, falling to 0-9 at Fenway since a 7-3 victory July 11 of last season.

The Orioles fell to 1-14 on the road against AL East teams in 2009 after losing their last three at Yankee Stadium. Adam Jones(notes) homered and had four of Baltimore’s nine hits in Wednesday’s 6-4 defeat.

“Personal success has its place, but I’d rather have won the series,” Jones said. “Some of the mistakes we made, they’re not making.”

The Orioles, 15-32 away from home, might be encouraged that Brad Penny(notes) (6-4, 5.02 ERA) will start for Boston on Friday. The right-hander gave up eight runs in three innings in his first career start against Baltimore on April 17, a game Boston went on to win 10-8.

That was Penny’s first home start since signing with the Red Sox over the winter. Since then, he’s gone 4-1 with a 3.28 ERA at Fenway.

He held Kansas City to three runs in five innings of Boston’s 8-6 loss in his last start July 9.

Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton(notes) is 8 for 20 (.400) with a home run and a double lifetime versus Penny.

Brad Bergesen(notes) (6-4, 3.51) will take the mound for Baltimore. The right-hander delivered his fifth consecutive quality start Saturday, holding the Chicago White Sox to two earned runs over six innings. However, he also gave up two unearned runs and suffered a 4-3 defeat.

Bergesen allowed one run and four hits in eight innings of his only start against Boston on July 1. The Baltimore bullpen blew a four-run lead in the ninth and the Orioles fell 6-5 in 11 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Bergesen Ari vs. B. Penny CWS
7-5 Record 11-9
3.43 ERA 4.88
65 K 109
32 BB 51
1.28 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Friday, Jul 24