The Red Sox will have Steven Wright on the mound for a Memorial Day afternoon game as they kick off their biggest series of the season yet against the Baltimore Orioles.
|BOSTON RED SOX||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Mookie Betts, RF||Adam Jones, CF|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Hyun Soo Kim, LF|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS||Manny Machado, SS|
|David Ortiz, DH||Chris Davis, 1B|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF||Mark Trumbo, DH|
|Travis Shaw, 1B||Jonathan Schoop, 2B|
|Blake Swihart, LF||Nolan Reimold, RF|
|Ryan Hanigan, C||Ryan Flaherty, 3B|
|Marco Hernandez, 3B||Caleb Joseph, C|
|Starting Pitcher -- Steven Wright||Starting Pitcher -- Tyler Wilson|
David Ortiz is back, but no Hanley Ramirez for the Red Sox. If anyone could use a day off, though, it's probably Ramirez.
While Boston has lived up to high expectations (and even exceeded them some) with a 30-20 start to the season, the Orioles have been the surprise contenders of the year, sitting just one game back of the Sox with June just around the corner. That means that if any team can come away with an outright win in this four-game set, they'll leave as the division leaders, with the Red Sox at least holding the advantage in case of a tie.
Pitching matchups, at least, do seem to favor the Red Sox, if not too dramatically. Tyler Wilson has proven a very reasonable arm thus far in 2016, but his starts have been less impressive than his relief outings, and Steven Wright has been rather more than reasonable. Game 2 is something of a wild card given Edaurdo Rodriguez' involvement. but Kevin Gausman has to be given the nod at this point. Game 3 is a toss up between Joe Kelly and Mike Wright, with neither arm looking particularly intimidating. And Game 4 is the one lopsided matchup with Rick Porcello getting to face Ubaldo Jimenez...assuming the Orioles actually let him make the start.
But being favorites on paper, especially based on a pitching matchup, is the sort of advantage that lasts right up until the first pitch is thrown. Which is to say it's not real until they make it so. They'll try to do just that at 1:35 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.