Trailing Tampa Bay by 6 1/2 games in the AL wild-card race with 12 to play, the Red Sox (83-67) have little chance of advancing to their fourth consecutive postseason. Boston does have two series remaining against the division-leading New York Yankees, whom it trails by eight games, but the Red Sox haven’t helped themselves lately by dropping three of four, including Monday’s 4-2 loss to Baltimore.
Buchholz (16-7, 2.48 ERA) will try to get Boston back on track after he did the same for himself in Wednesday’s 5-1 win at Seattle. After going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his previous three outings, the right-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball for his first victory since Aug. 22.
“He came back and he was real crisp, and you could see his fastball had a lot of life on it today,” manager Terry Francona told the Red Sox’s official website.
The Orioles know how that looks all about how tough Buchholz can be. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in his last three starts versus Baltimore, including a five-hitter in an 11-0 victory at Camden Yards on June 4. His only other career shutout came was a no-hitter against the Orioles on Sept. 1, 2007.
Buchholz, though, will now face a Baltimore club that has won 11 of 15 overall and eight of 10 on the road.
“It’s just been a long time since we’ve played this well down the stretch,” second baseman Brian Roberts(notes) said. “Everyone is playing well. Our starting pitchers are going deeper and deeper in the game and giving us a chance to win.”
Baltimore (60-90), which is 28-17 since Buck Showalter took over as manager Aug. 3, will give the ball to Brad Bergesen(notes) (7-10, 5.03). The right-hander needed just 95 pitches for his second career complete game, a 3-1 victory over Toronto last Wednesday.
“That one felt really good,” Bergesen told the Orioles’ official website. “Our team has been playing so well, it just makes it so much better.”
Bergesen, who needs one win to surpass his total from his 2009 rookie season, has yielded two runs or fewer in seven of his last nine starts.
He is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts versus Boston this season.
The Orioles, who lost 29 of 36 in Boston from 2006-09, are 3-4 there in 2010.