Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora made it clear before Saturday’s game that he wanted to see his team’s offense make life a little bit easier on its pitchers.
“It feels like we’ve been in every game from day one, and that’s great — but sometimes it’s like this is too much. Either we win by a lot or, I hate to say it, they beat us by a lot,” Cora said. “Offensively when we have leads — if we add up, add on, it will be great for (the pitchers) too.”
Boston’s hitters heard Cora’s message loudly and clearly as they pounded out 11 runs on 14 hits in a five-run rout of the AL East rival Orioles in Baltimore later that night.
The Red Sox moved eight games above .500 with their third straight win and eighth in the last 12 games.
Boston looks to build on the best record in the majors on Sunday afternoon when it faces the Orioles in the third of their four-game weekend series.
Nick Pivetta (4-0, 3.23 ERA) will be tasked with keeping the momentum rolling for the Red Sox on the mound as he seeks to match Eduardo Rodriguez (5-0) for the staff lead in wins.
The 28-year-old right-hander has allowed more than three runs just once through six starts — on the road against the Orioles in a 14-9 win on April 11. Pivetta got the win after throwing a season-high 101 pitches, but gave up season highs in runs (four) and hits (seven) while walking three and striking out seven over six innings.
Maikel Franco drove in three of the Orioles’ four runs against Pivetta and is 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs against him overall. Pat Valaika (2-for-2, HR, 3 RBIs), Freddy Galvis (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Trey Mancini (1-for-7, solo HR) have also had success facing Pivetta.
Pivetta is unbeaten in his career against the Orioles, posting a 4-0 mark with a 3.28 ERA in four prior starts.
Baltimore remains in last place in the AL East and has dropped four of six after winning five of seven. After winning their first three against Boston this season, the Orioles have dropped their last five.
“I think we’re going to get better as a team,” said Galvis, the Orioles shortstop, who hit a solo home run in Saturday’s game before leaving with a groin injury. “We have to try to hit really early and try to put the runs (on the board).”
The Orioles turn to right-hander Dean Kremer (0-2, 6.43 ERA) with hopes of building off a strong start in his last outing.
Kremer lasted a season-best six innings and allowed just one run on two hits while walking two and striking out four on Monday in Seattle. Kremer did not factor into the decision in Baltimore’s 5-3 win.
In his four prior starts, Kremer had pitched to an 8.40 ERA, and he allowed a career-worst seven runs in 2 2/3 innings in his final outing of 2020 on Sept. 23 at Boston, his only career start against the Red Sox.
Kevin Plawecki is 2-for-2 with two RBIs versus Kremer, while J.D. Martinez (1-for-2) and Michael Chavis (1-for-2) each have an RBI against him.
–Field Level Media