For the first time since 1952, the Red Sox have won each of their opening three series to start the season. With sole possession of first place in the AL East, Boston has a chance to continue separating itself from the rest of the division when the Orioles stop by Fenway for a four-game series this weekend.
First on the docket for these clubs is a Friday night showdown between Joe Kelly and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Kelly impressed in his first start of the season on Saturday, allowing just one run on one hit over seven innings against the Yankees. He also recorded eight strikeouts in his outing, surrendered two walks and gave his team the chance to regroup after the 19-inning marathon the night before. With the bullpen spent from the late-night victory, the Sox relied on Kelly to deliver, and he did.
“Coming out like that against this team, to be able to execute with the lower pitch count and get through seven, that was huge for us, man,” catcher Ryan Hanigan said after Kelly’s start. “Once he gets the ball rolling and gets some momentum and starts feeling it, he’s tough. That was a good start for us, for sure.”
Facing Baltimore for just the third time in his career, Kelly brings with him 13 1/3 innings of experience against the Orioles with a 3.38 ERA. He has registered 11 strikeouts against the birds, averaging 7.4 per nine innings. Allowing nine hits in 49 at bats, Kelly has held Baltimore to a .184 batting average.
Like Kelly, Jimenez only has one start on this season’s resume so far as well, during which the O’s righty put together a convincing performance that was almost identical to that of his Boston counterpart. On Saturday, while the Sox were dealing with New York, Jimenez was taking care of the Blue Jays. He held Toronto scoreless in seven innings of work and allowed just one hit with eight strikeouts and a walk to boot.
In three starts at Fenway Park, however, Jimenez has had some trouble, posting a 0-1 record with a 9.45 ERA over 13 1/3 innings pitched. Even away from Fenway, though, Jimenez has a 1-3 record against the Sox with a 9.37 ERA in seven starts. Logging just 32 2/3 innings against Boston, Jimenez is averaging close to 4 2/3 innings per start. The only teams he has fared worse against in terms of ERA are the Indians and the Phillies, though he has no more than three starts against either of them.
Orioles vs. Kelly (RHP)
Travis Snider (12 plate appearances): .273 AVG/.333 OBP/.364 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Alejandro De Aza (7): .167/.286/.167, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Ryan Flaherty (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Caleb Johnson (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Jonathan Schoop (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Adam Jones (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Everth Cabrera (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Steve Pearce (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI
Delmon Young (3): .333/.333/.333
Ubaldo Jimenez (2): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Steve Clevenger (1): .000/.000/.000
Red Sox vs. Jimenez (RHP)
Pablo Sandoval (35 plate appearances): .324 AVG/.343 OBP/.618 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (19): .412/.474/.471, 1 double, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (15): .333/.467/.583, 3 doubles, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
David Ortiz (14): .182/.357/.455, 1 home run, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (12): .400/.500/.1.100, 1 double, 2 home runs, 3 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Hanley Ramirez (11): .111/.273/.111, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Allen Craig (10): .333/.400/.333, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Shane Victorino (10): .429/.600/.429, 3 walks
Xander Bogaerts (5): .667/.800/.667, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Brock Holt (5): .333/.600/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Ryan Hanigan (3): .333/.333/.333
Mookie Betts (2): .500/.500/.500