After taking the first two games of their weekend series in Tampa Bay, the Red Sox failed to sweep on Sunday, 3–2.
The good news was that the Yankees also lost the only game of their series against the Orioles. The Yankees remain three games back in the American League East. The Sox have maintained that three-game lead, plus or minus a game, for the last two months.
The Yankees will welcome the pesky Twins to New York City in a series that could go a long way to determining who hosts a potential play-in game between those two. The Red Sox, meanwhile, travel to Baltimore for a series against an O’s team that doesn’t like them very much.
It started in April when the Orioles were still atop the AL East. Dustin Pedroia took exception to Manny Machado’s aggressive slide into second base and the beanball began.
The Sox plunked Machado and both sides went back and forth from there. It was ugly for a series and a half before tempers simmered down but the bad blood remains.
The O’s have played Boston tough this season. They haven’t lost a series to the Red Sox and swept the most recent series at Fenway Park. They’ve also laid down for the Yankees.
Dylan Bundy takes the mound for Monday’s opener. He had that great April and then leveled off in the summer time. He’s trying to finish strong, though. Bundy has been excellent over his last seven starts, shaving half a run off of his ERA in the process, from 4.53 to 4.03. He’s thrown six innings three times, and finished seven, eight and nine, too. The only blunder in the mix was four innings and five earned against the Yankees two weeks ago.
Doug Fister hasn’t been a totally consistent performer this season, either. It started ugly for him and he was the bane of many Red Sox fans’ existence. Then, he threw well against the Cleveland Indians, twice, including a one-hitter. He’s been money since then. Three of his last four starts have lasted seven full innings and his ERA was down to 3.91 before struggling just a bit his last time out.
One of those seven-inning outings came against Baltimore and he may pitch well again on Monday but I like the Orioles. Baltimore will be live for this series and the Red Sox are banged up, offensively. The Sox really miss Eduardo Nunez, Hanley Ramirez is still suffering from a shoulder problem and Rafael Devers has hit a wall. The O’s are a fine bet at even money in Camden Yards.
Free Pick: Orioles PK