The Red Sox open up a weekend series Friday night against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Allen Webster will pitch against Kevin Gausman.
In his previous outing last Friday, Webster (4-3, 6.02 ERA) had one of his finer outings of the season. He threw six innings, allowing just two runs in a winning effort against the Royals. Part of the reason for his success against Kansas City was improved control. After walking at least two batters in each of his previous eight starts, Webster walked just one Royals hitter. Manager John Farrell said he liked what he saw from Webster last time out.
“We know this is an aggressive swinging team, and if you pitch to quality locations early in the count, chances are it can work in your favor,” Farrell said after the game.
Webster has pitched into the sixth inning in his last two starts after not making it out of the fifth frame in two prior appearances. Webster has faced the American League East four times this season, but not the Orioles so far in 2014. Against division foes, he’s allowed 15 runs in 17 1/3 innings, leading to a 1-2 record.
The right-hander previously faced the Orioles during the last game of the season in 2013, also at Camden Yards. Over three innings in a shortened start, Webster did not allow a run, struck out two and walked three. Farrell was happy with how Webster responded after a tough beginning of the game.
“It was good to see Webby come out and settle down after a rocky beginning of the first inning. He threw the ball very well,” Farrell said.
No current Orioles player has a hit against Webster.
Gausman (7-7, 3.57 ERA) has put together a fine rookie season for the Orioles. The hard-throwing pitcher won his last start against the Yankees last Friday, as he did not allow a run over seven innings. He gave up seven hits but used seven strikeouts to keep the Yankees at bay. He did not factor into the decision, however, because Baltimore did not score until the bottom of the 11th inning.
“He was really good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his starter after the game. “He had to be, because [Brandon] McCarthy was good, too.”
The 23-year-old is on a streak in which he’s pitched at least seven innings and struck out seven hitters per game over his last three starts. He only has one start over his last 10 outings where he did not pitch out of the fifth inning. In all 21 starts this season, Gausman has recorded at least one strikeout.
Back on July 6, Gausman defeated the Red Sox when he pitched 5 1/3 innings and was charged with just one run on five hits. He also struck out seven. David Ortiz drove in the lone Red Sox run with an RBI double that scored Daniel Nava.
No Red Sox hitter on the current roster has more than two career hits vs. Gausman. Ortiz has two extra base hits, a double and home run against the right-hander.
Red Sox vs. Gausman (RHP)
Yoenis Cespedes (6 career plate appearances): .333 average/.333 OBP/.333 SLG, 2 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (6): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
David Ortiz (5): .400/.400/1.200, 1 home run, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 3 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (3): .333/.333/.333
Brock Holt (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk
Will Middlebrooks (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double
Jackie Bradley has a walk and a strikeout against Gausman in two plate appearances.
Orioles vs. Webster (RHP)
Nick Hundley (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis are both 0-for-2 against Webster in two plate appearances. Steve Clevenger, Steve Pearce and Jonathan Schoop are all 0-for-1 vs. the right-hander.