Talking Behind Their Back: Red Sox
So that happened...
Baltimore entered a four-game series in Boston fresh off of three series victories and standing at 6-3 on the year. The Red Sox on the other hand checked in at 2-6 and had already absorbed two three-game losing streaks.
The Orioles jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first game of the series with their ace on the mound. And then things went terribly wrong. From that moment on the Orioles and Red Sox quickly turned into who we thought they were.
The Baltimore pitching staff (and defense for that matter) crumbled over four games that concluded yesterday with the Orioles' standard finale flameout (a 12-1 loss). The Orioles pitching staff ranks 28th in ERA (6.69), has given up the second most home runs (25) and is last in the majors in WHIP (1.82). Which would explain how the Orioles gave up over five runs three times in one series to a team that had scored more than five just once in its previous eight games.
Conversely, the Red Sox were suddenly clicking on all cylinders. The Boston pitching staff had been dicey at best this season but held the Orioles to a combined six runs in the final three games of the series. To put that in perspective, the Orioles have scored six runs or more in seven games this season. Meanwhile the offense got into a groove (a David Ortiz triple? Really?) that now has the Red Sox headed in the right direction and just in time as they prepare to host the New York Yankees at the end of the week.
To make matters worse, the injury bug also reared its ugly head for the Orioles in this series. Center fielder Adam Jones left Sunday's game in the first inning with a tight hamstring. Utility man Ryan Freel was accidentally hit in the side of the head in an attempted to pick off move yesterday.
So with the White Sox coming to town for a three-game set, changes are afoot. After missing yesterday's game, Jones is listed in the team's starting lineup for tonight assuming everything checks out fine after batting practice. Freel, on the other hand, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Freel's injury clears the way for outfielder Lou Montanez to be called up from Class AAA Norfolk. Montanez has been raking in Norfolk, sporting a .429 average to go with a 1.000 OPS and is expected to join the club for tomorrow's game against the White Sox.
Making his major league debut tonight, however, will be Brad Bergesen. Bergesen will be the first member of The Cavalry to appear with the Orioles. Bergesen was the organization's 2008 minor league pitcher of the year and looked strong this spring, nearly breaking camp with the team after giving up just four runs in 11 2/3 innings before being optioned to Norfolk.
Over at his blog, MASN's Roch Kubatko predicts how he sees Bergesen's first start going. In short: expect quick work out of the 23-year-old righty against an above-average Chicago White Sox offense that is capable of hitting the long ball (18 already on the season). Bergesen doesn't have overpowering stuff but gets the job done thanks to good command. If he's hitting his spots and not getting squeezed, Bergesen could have a nice debut.
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