The 11-13 Boston Red Sox will look to bounce back from consecutive losses to the Oakland Athletics when they host the red hot 16-9 Baltimore Orioles from May 4 to May 6. The Orioles come to Boston riding an unreal streak of outstanding pitching. They have allowed just 16 runs over their last ten games, winning eight. They own the second best record in the division and the third best record in the American League.
The Red Sox will have their work cut out for them after struggling to score in their last two games against the Athletics. Adrian Gonzalez is hitless in his last four games and his OPS sits below .700 entering the weekend series. With Kevin Youkilis joining Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford on the disabled list, the shorthanded Red Sox need Gonzalez to snap out of his funk soon.
May 4: Jon Lester (4.65 ERA, 23/14 K/BB) vs Wei-Yin Chen (2.22 ERA, 19/8 K/BB)
After tossing seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts against the Chicago White Sox, Lester will look to build off of his best start of the season. Chen has enjoyed a great start to his Major League career; through four starts, he has yet to allow more than two earned runs in a game. Memo to Bobby Valentine: he is left-handed.
May 5: Aaron Cook (First start of 2012) vs Jason Hammel (1.97 ERA, 30/10 K/BB)
Over ten years and 1,312 innings in the NL West, Cook amassed a 4.53 ERA and struck out only 3.8 batters per nine innings. No matter how well he pitched in Pawtucket, it's hard to envision him enjoying much success in the AL East. Hammel pitched one of the best months of his career in April. He struck out nearly a batter per inning and posted the fourth best groundball-to-flyball ratio in the majors.
May 6: Clay Buchholz (8.69 ERA, 16/15 K/BB) vs Tommy Hunter (4.26 ERA, 18/11 K/BB)
Buchholz has struggled with his modified mechanics, but he has shown signs of progress. His changeup looked far better in his win against Oakland and he allowed one run through six innings before an ugly seventh. Hunter was pushed back a day due to a mild toe ailment, so he will pitch the finale. In six career starts against the Red Sox, he has allowed a .954 OPS with only ten strikeouts in 29 innings.
Boston Red Sox, Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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