The Orioles' annual April slog through the AL East continues with the suddenly resurgent Boston Red Sox coming into town. The Red Sox are surging, after getting off to their worst start in decades they have crawled out of the basement winning eight of their last ten buoyed by a four game wining streak.
The Orioles are, of course - once again, heading the opposite direction.
We can try and kid ourselves with the moral victory against the Yankees on Sunday, but moral victories don't end up in the win-column and the Orioles need to find a way to right the ship against a surging Sox club.
Tonight Clay Buchholz will take the mound for the Sox. Buchholz has gotten off to a rocky start in 2011; he's 1-2 with an ERA over 5. He is walking too many people, giving up almost 10 hits per nine innings and seems ripe for the picking. Now if the Orioles can just remember how to hit the ball. Seriously though, this is one of those situations where the Orioles need to pounce on a struggling pitcher that has historically had their number. The team simply can not allow themselves to be the healing salve, the phoenix down if you will, to resurrect Buchholz' April.
I will admit it. I danced a little jig everyday the Red Sox lost this April. Every loss they fell further into the hole made my heart swell with abject glee. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Orioles are desperate for a win or two to salvage an April and to stay competitive going into May.
Zach Britton throws tonight for the birds. Britton got singled to death for one inning in his last start against Minnesota but still picked up the quality start and the win despite having the flu. Hopefully Britton is 100% healthy tonight as he will be tested by the Sox bats, another AL East team that has simply owned the Orioles the last handful of years.
Speaking of the Sox offense, the bats have definitely come alive, but their pitching over the last ten games has been amazing. In their eight wins in this streak they have held opposing offenses to three runs or fewer including back-to-back shutouts against the Angels. After tonight the Birds will get Jenks tomorrow and the dred-oriole-killer Jon Lester to finish the series. If the Orioles are going to salvage anything resembling a respectable April they need to do it here in this three game series.