The Baltimore Orioles were thoroughly dominated in a contentious series at Fenway Park earlier this month, but after a couple of wins, they can’t wait for the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox to arrive at Camden Yards.
The Red Sox might be tired when they get there.
Coming off a long, drawn-out victory at Tampa Bay that ended Monday at 1:54 a.m., Boston hopes for a boost from a healthy Carl Crawford(notes) as it goes for its seventh straight victory against Baltimore on Monday night.
In a series marred by a benches-clearing brawl July 8 - Red Sox slugger David Ortiz(notes) and Orioles closer Kevin Gregg(notes) could be suspended for this entire series for their actions during that melee - Boston (57-36) hit .343 and outscored Baltimore 32-13 in a four-game sweep July 7-10.
Baltimore (38-54) has dropped 23 of 31, but the club enters this series following back-to-back wins over AL Central-leading Cleveland.
“Let’s build on this,” Adam Jones(notes) said after hitting a solo homer in Sunday’s 8-3 victory. “We’ve got a tough team coming in, so let’s take this momentum and use it against them. They’re a good team. We know that. Everybody in baseball knows that. But they can be beat, so they’re going to come to Camden (Yards) and we have something for them.”
The Orioles, who last won three straight during a 4-0 run June 6-10, face a Red Sox team coming off a 1-0, 16-inning victory at Tampa Bay that started Sunday night and took 5 hours, 44 minutes to complete.
Dustin Pedroia(notes), batting .385 during an AL-best 15-game hitting streak, delivered the game-winning RBI single to help Boston win for the 12th time in 14 games and keep a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees.
“I really don’t want to be a part of another (long game),” Pedroia said. “Now we have to go to Baltimore. It’s a tough night.”
One of the fresher Red Sox players could be Crawford, who is expected to be in the lineup Monday after missing the last 24 games with a strained left hamstring.
“His batting average might be lower this year than we’re used to, but if he comes back for the last couple months and is, you know, the guy that causes havoc, what a lift,” manager Terry Francona said.
Boston continues its six-game trip with Tim Wakefield(notes) (5-3, 4.74 ERA) on the mound. Two shy of 200 wins, the 44-year-old knuckleballer gets his 12th start of the season with the Red Sox staff decimated with injuries.
Wakefield makes his first start against the Orioles this season after tossing one inning of scoreless relief in a 5-4 loss at Camden Yards on April 27. He is seven strikeouts shy of 2,000 with Boston.
Manager Buck Showalter could use a lengthy outing from the right-hander after his starters lasted more than five innings just twice in the last 13 games.
Bergesen held Boston to two runs in six innings April 28, but the Orioles lost 6-2 and couldn’t finish a three-game sweep.