The Boston Red Sox have the most wins in the Major Leagues and, at least according to both predictive models and markets, a legitimate chance to beat out the Yankees in the division this season.
They also just lost two out of three games this weekend, at home, to the Chicago White Sox. The only team in baseball with fewer wins than the White Sox plays its home games at Camden Yards, which is where the Baltimore Orioles host Boston on Tuesday night.
The Orioles have been hard to watch. The pitching, from starters to the bullpen, has been among the worst in either league; the offense has only scored more runs than Miami (going into Monday) has the third-most strikeouts in the AL.
But David Hess has been good. He turns 25 in a month and has five career starts under his belt since making his debut a month ago. A sturdy 6’2″, Hess attended Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. before he was drafted by Baltimore in the 5th round in 2014. Knowing that, watching him pitch and listening to some interviews, I’m confident he isn’t a flash-in-the-pan type of guy; he’s a little older, a little stronger and knows how to pitch.
He doesn’t often try to strike batters out; he’s under 5.00 Ks/9 but that figure is twice his walk rate. He’ll give up some hits but has done a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark with one exception: when he pitched at Fenway Park.
Boston hit three off of him in that one and scored five times before Buck Showalter took the ball with two outs in the fifth. Still, it was his second start of his career, at Fenway Park, after being sent back down to the farm earlier in the week.
It was also, by far, his worst. Hess won his debut with six quality innings against Tampa Bay. He’s gone at least six innings in each of his last three and given up no more than a run in each, though he won just one of them.
Hess will face Eduardo Rodriguez, whose ERA, WHIP and Ks are all at career-high levels. He’s given up five runs in his last four starts (23.2 innings), including 5.2 shutout innings against Hess and the Orioles in that game at Fenway Park on May 20th.
Mookie Betts returned and went 1-for-5 from the leadoff spot on Monday. Manny Machado sat out for Baltimore because of a sickness. Either that, or the O’s have a deal in the works. I’m not counting on him playing on Tuesday, either.
Hess should pitch well; E-Rod likely will too. I expect something close and low-scoring, at least until the bullpens enter. I like Baltimore as a dog, straight-up and on the run-line and in the first five innings, plus any under: Boston’s team total, the first five innings and the game.