The Red Sox will play the second game of their three-game series against the Orioles on Saturday night, as Rubby De La Rosa will face off against Chris Tillman.
Rubby De La Rosa
De La Rosa’s last two starts have not gone exactly as planned. Against the Royals last Saturday, the right-hander (4-7, 4.31 ERA) was charged for two runs in the first inning and then allowed three more in the fifth. De La Rosa’s final four-inning line included six hits and two strikeouts.
Manager John Farrell said after De La Rosa’s last start that the team plans on restricting the pitcher’s innings because of the amount he’s pitched in both the major and minor leagues this season.
“We are limiting his innings pitched, but we don’t want to shut him down,” Farrell said. “There’s some benefit to be had by continuing through his work routine through the end of the season, and that’s a primary goal right now.”
His start vs. the Blue Jays on Sept. 7 was almost identical to his one against Kansas City. De La Rosa lasted four innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. The big blow in the game came when Jose Bautista hit a three-run home in the fifth inning, ending Dela Rosa’s afternoon.
Since the second half of the season began, De La Rosa has struggled to have any consistency. In 11 starts since the All-Star break, he has an ERA over five and a 2-5 record. Hitters have feasted on him with a .325 batting average. By the time De La Rosa reaches the 26-pitch mark in a game, players are hitting .340 with a .894 OPS against him.
De La Rosa made one start vs. the Orioles back on June 11. He was roughed up for three runs in the first inning, but recovered to pitch 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs.
“I thought tonight was an important learning experience for him, the way in which he needs to use his fastball,” Farrell said after the game. “Quickly the word spreads around this league on what an individual pitcher will go to. I thought once he started to use his fastball more from the third inning on, he forced some swings and made his changeup and his breaking pitches that much more effective.”
Tillman’s strong season (12-5, 3.29 ERA) is one of the reasons the Orioles claimed their first American League East title since 1997. His ERA, WHIP (1.22) and strikeouts (139) lead the team. The 26-year-old last threw 6 2/3 innings against the Yankee on Sunday and was charged for just one earned run and struck out six, but he did not factor into the decision.
The outing against the Yankees followed a win against the Red Sox on Sept. 9 at Fenway Park. In the start, Tillman threw five innings of one-run ball. The lone Boston run came courtesy of a Xander Bogaerts home run.
This season against the Red Sox, Tillman has compiled a 2-1 record in four starts. The one loss came at Camden Yards back in June when he gave up just one run.
Daniel Nava is hitting .250 against Tillman and has four doubles against the right-hander.
Red Sox vs. Tillman (RHP)
Daniel Nava (33 career plate appearances): .286 average/.333 OBP/.343 SLG, 4 doubles, 5 walks 9 strikeouts
David Ortiz (29): .083/.241/.083, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (26): 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Will Middlebrooks (18): .000/.000/.000, 4 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (13): .182/.308/.455, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Jackie Bradley (8): .429/.500/.571, 1 double, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Yoenis Cespedes (8): .125/.125/.125, 3 strikeouts
Brock Holt (5): .600/.600/.600, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Mookie Betts (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Ryan Lavarnway (3): .000/.000/.000
David Ross is 0-for-2 against Tillman, while Christian Vazquez and Jemile Weeks have each reached base once in two plate appearances against him.
Orioles vs. De La Rosa (RHP)
Jonathon Schoop (4): .667/.750/.667, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Nelson Cruz (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
J.J. Hardy (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Adam Jones (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Nick Markakis (3): .000/.000/.000
Steve Pearce (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk
Alejandro De Aza and Kelly Johnson both are 1-for-2 against De La Rosa. Nick Hundley has not reached base against the right-hander in two plate appearances, and Steve Clevenger is 0-for-1 vs. De La Rosa.