The Sox and Orioles finish up their season series with a 1:35 p.m. start on Sunday. The Orioles look to continue their winning ways against the Sox before they head to Tampa Bay for a three-game series with the Rays, who sit just a few games back in the wild card standings. The Sox head to New York with hopes of ruining a first-place finish for the Yankees in the AL East.
The Sox on Sunday will give the ball to Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91 ERA overall this season, 0-1, 27.00 with Boston). Steward came to Boston at the end of June as part of the Kevin Youkilis trade. Stewart started just one game for the White Sox, going 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs on June 18 and giving up six runs, including four home runs, in taking the loss.
In his only start in a Red Sox uniform, Stewart performed poorly, going just three innings against the Angels on Aug. 29 and allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits. He then was sent to Pawtucket to make room for Daniel Bard.
The Orioles haven’t seen much of Stewart. Shortstop J.J. Hardy has hit a home run and a double off Stewart in four at-bats. Catcher Matt Wieters, who missed Friday’s game due to the birth of his son, has faced Stewart once and hit a grand slam.
Joe Saunders (8-13, 4.09 ERA overall this season, 2-3, 3.62 with the O’s) will pitch for Baltimore. He was traded to the Orioles on Aug. 26 from the Diamondbacks. Saunders was 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts with the Diamondbacks this season. Prior to his two-year stint in Arizona, Saunders pitched for the Angels.
In his last outing, Saunders pitched against the Blue Jays on Sept. 25 and allowed three earned runs on 11 hits through 6 1/3 innings. His strongest outing of the month came Sept. 19 against the Mariners. Saunders allowed just one run through eight innings of work in that game, although he did not factor in the decision.
Of current Sox batters, James Loney has the most at-bats against Saunders, as the two previously faced each other in the National League. Loney has two home runs and six RBIs in 27 at-bats against the lefty. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia also has hit well against Saunders with eight hits, including two doubles, in 27 at-bats.