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News » Orioles-Red Sox Preview 2009-04-16

Orioles-Red Sox Preview 2009-04-16

Orioles-Red Sox Preview 2009-04-16
Although the Baltimore Orioles are coming off a third straight series win, their bullpen has been handling a heavy workload.

Given the Orioles' struggles at Fenway Park last season, the team's relievers could continue to be very busy this weekend.

The Orioles look to continue their hot start when they face the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a four-game series Friday.

Baltimore (6-3) began the season with series wins over New York and Tampa Bay, then took two of three from Texas this week. They lost the finale 19-6 on Wednesday night, however.

The Orioles led 3-1 after two innings, but starter Mark Hendrickson gave up nine runs - two earned - in lasting just 3 2-3 innings.

"This one got away from us. I like the way we started," manager Dave Trembley said. "We didn't pitch well enough and we didn't play well enough."

Although they won two of three, it was a difficult series for the Orioles pitching staff, which allowed 33 runs over the three games and received only 10 innings from the three starters. Baltimore's bullpen has pitched 39 2-3 innings this season - among the most in the majors - as Orioles starters have made it through six innings only twice.

Both of those outings were by Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 2.25 ERA), who will take the mound Friday. He allowed five hits in six innings of a 6-0 win over the Rays on Saturday.

Guthrie was 1-2 with a 4.13 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox (3-6) last season. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.93 ERA in three career starts in Boston.

Baltimore went 2-7 against the Red Sox at Fenway in 2008. Boston averaged 7.1 runs in those games and only one Orioles starter made it through six innings.

The Red Sox, though, are still looking for their first series win as they open a nine-game homestand. They avoided a three-game sweep by Oakland with an 8-2 win in Wednesday's finale.

Tim Wakefield came within five outs of a no-hitter, while Mike Lowell hit a two-run home run in the second inning and J.D. Drew added a three-run shot during a six-run eighth.

Wakefield went on to pitch a complete game, giving a Red Sox bullpen that pitched 11 innings the night before some much-needed rest.

"Obviously (a no-hitter) is something that's great to try to get, but the most important thing was to preserve our bullpen," Wakefield said.

The Red Sox scored 13 runs in the series' final two games after scoring 24 over their first seven contests. Lowell was 4-for-9 with four RBIs in the final two games after hitting .154 (4-for-26) with four RBIs to open the season.

Boston will hand the ball Friday to Brad Penny (1-0, 4.50), who pitched six innings in his Red Sox debut Saturday against the Angels. He allowed three runs and two homers but earned a 5-4 victory.

Penny struggled with shoulder problems last year when he went 6-9 and had a career-high 6.27 ERA with the Dodgers.

"I felt great," Penny told the Red Sox's official Web site. "My command wasn't there like it normally is, but strength-wise, I felt good."

Friday will be the right-hander's first game against the Orioles.

He'll likely face red-hot center fielder Adam Jones, who's batting .389 (14-for-36) with 11 RBIs. He had a two-run ninth-inning homer among his two hits Wednesday.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 16, 2009

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