After 40 games, the Red Sox finally reached a .500 record with a three-game sweep of the Yankees. Now, with the Orioles in town for a short two-game set, the Sox will have to rely on the back end of their rotation to keep them there.
Unfortunately, this hasn't been the best of matchups for the Boston Red Sox of late. After going 9-9 against Baltimore in 2010, the Sox are off to a 1-2 start against the birds this seasons. While the Orioles have been off to a better start then usual, staying out of the A.L. East cellar for much of the season, this is one of the teams the Sox have to beat when given the opportunity.
Monday, May 16, 7:10 p.m.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 4.64 ERA) vs. Chris Tillamn (2-3, 6.15 ERA)
Daisuke Matsuzaka hasn't been nearly as good in his last couple of starts as he was when he was shutting down the Blue Jays and Angels, but he's still managed to keep the Sox in the game. That might be just what they need against Chris Tillman, who is prone to incredibly weak performances against the stronger lineups of the league. On the other hand, Tillman has also shown the ability to put up some shutout performances, which could be bad for what has been an at times streaky Boston lineup.
Tuesday, May 17, 7:10 p.m.
John Lackey (2-5, 8.01 ERA) vs. Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42 ERA)
It doesn't take an expert to realize that this is a pretty terrible matchup for the Sox. The last time he saw them, Britton held the Red Sox to just a lone run through six innings, thwarting their attempt to reach .500. If Daisuke can't get the job done on Monday, then Boston could be looking at the exact same scenario on Tuesday, as it's hard to imagine John Lackey holding the Orioles--or anyone, for that matter--scoreless anytime soon. He's been an unmitigated disaster in his last two outings, allowing 17 runs in 11 innings. If there's any consolation, it's that Lackey's last turnaround came just as quickly. One game he's allowing six to the Yankees, the next he's keeping the Athletics quiet for six.