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Getting ready for Red Sox’ opener with some Opening Day notes 03.30.14 at 10:46 am ET
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BALTIMORE ‘€“ To get you ready for Opening Day, here are some pertinent notes courtesy the crack Red Sox media relations staff:

- With his fourth Opening Day start, Jon Lester will become the first Red Sox lefty to total more than three, surpassing Babe Ruth and Mel Parnell.

- Only Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens (7), and Dennis Eckersley and Cy Young (5) have more consecutive Opening Day starts than Lester.

- Lester 15-3 in 25 starts for his career against Baltimore. His 2.94 ERA vs. the Orioles is the best of any active pitcher (with min. of 115 innings) vs. the O’€™s. He is 8-1 with a 2.99 ERA at Camden Yards, the best ERA for any opposing pitcher in the history of the stadium.

- The Red Sox have lost their last three Opening Day matchups against the Orioles, with the most recent tilt coming in 2004 when Martinez got the loss.

- The Red Sox are 55-57-1 in openers, having claimed victories in four of their last six. It is also the fourth year in a row they have opened on the road. In fact, the Sox have begun their regular season away from Fenway Park in 16 of the last 19 seasons.

- This will be David Ortiz‘€™ 10th Opening Day start for the Red Sox, tying him with Wade Boggs and Dom DiMaggio for eighth on the team’€™s all-time list. He will also match the most Opening Day starts with one team by a designated hitter in baseball history, tying Hal McRae and Edgar Martinez. The 12 starts in openers for his career also allows Ortiz to equal Don Baylor’€™s record.

- Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in each of his seven openers, tying a team record. In the last 100 years, no Red Sox has hit safely in eight straight Opening Day games.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Wei-Yin Chen 09.28.13 at 10:44 am ET
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Jon Lester

Jon Lester

The Red Sox will continue their final regular-season series of the year on Saturday night, as Jon Lester gets the call for Boston in the second game against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Southpaw Wei-Yin Chen will take the mound for Baltimore, looking for his first win against Boston this year.

Lester (15-8, 3.67 ERA) has been rolling during the final stretch of the season, surrendering only 13 runs over his last 65 innings.

In his last start, on Sept. 20 against the Blue Jays, Lester was excellent, holding Toronto to just one earned run over seven innings in an eventual 6-3 win that clinched the AL East for the Red Sox, their first division title since 2007.

It was also a personal milestone for Lester, as he earned his 100th career win, just the 11th player, and third left-hander, to accomplish that feat with Boston.

“To go through some of the things we’ve gone through the past three years, injuries, nonsense and all the other stuff, to finally be back at this point is very rewarding,” Lester said after the game.

Lester’s last start against the Orioles was on Aug. 28, and it was the last time the left-hander lost a game this season. Lester lasted six innings, his shortest total over his last nine starts, giving up three earned runs while walking four batters in what ended up being a 3-2 Orioles victory.

In 24 career starts against Baltimore, Lester is 15-3 with a 2.80 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.

It’s been a frustrating month for Chen (7-7, 4.03 ERA), as the left hander has received a no-decision in his last five starts.

Chen’s last two appearances against Boston have not gone well, as he allowed eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings on Aug. 27 and followed that up by surrendering 11 hits and three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on Sept. 18.

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Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Scott Feldman 09.27.13 at 10:50 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox will kick off their final series of the regular season Friday when they face off against Scott Feldman and the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Clay Buchholz will get the call for Boston, making his fourth start since being activated off of the disabled list on Sept. 10 after missing three months with neck and shoulder issues.

The regular-season series between these two teams has been close this year, as Baltimore leads with nine wins in 16 games.

Buchholz (11-1, 1.60 ERA) has been great since his long-awaited return, as the Texas native has only allowed two earned runs in his last 17 innings of work.

Despite posting solid numbers of two earned runs in six innings during his last start on Saturday against the Blue Jays, Buchholz was bested by Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (six innings, five hits, one earned run) and picked up his first loss of the season in what ended up being a 4-2 Toronto victory.

Buchholz was the first Red Sox pitcher to go 11-0 in his first 14 starts of a season since Roger Clemens in 1986.

The last time Buchholz faced Baltimore was on April 8. Buchholz, as he’s seemingly been all season, was dominant, allowing three hits and zero runs over seven innings in what ended up being a 3-1 Red Sox win.

In 14 career starts against Baltimore, Buchholz is 8-3 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

Acquired from the Cubs on July 2, Feldman (12-11, 3.51 ERA) has been a solid addition to the Baltimore rotation with a 5-5 record and a 3.57 ERA in 14 starts.

After a few rough stretch in the middle of the season (5.12 ERA in July), Feldman has been sensational as of late, only allowing 12 earned runs over his last 50 innings.

Feldman last faced off against Boston on Sept. 17, when he only allowed one earned run over five innings but walked six batters in an eventual 3-2 Orioles victory.

In 10 games against Boston in his career, Feldman is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA.

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: John Lackey vs. Chris Tillman 09.19.13 at 11:29 am ET
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John Lackey

John Lackey

The Red Sox and Orioles will face off for the final time at Fenway Park during the regular season on Thursday night, as John Lackey will take the mound for Boston. Opposing Lackey will be Chris Tillman, who will be looking for his fourth win against Boston this season.

It’s been a odd last few weeks for Lackey. While he has struggled over his last two starts (11 earned runs in 12 innings of work), Lackey has compiled a 1-0 record over that stretch, thanks in large part to 21 runs of support during those two starts.

This sudden surge of offense has been odd to see in a Lackey start, as the team only scored 18 runs in Lackey’s previous eight games.

Lackey was once again solid in his last start on Sept. 13 against the Yankees, as the right-hander held the New York lineup to four earned over 6 1/3 innings.

Lackey put together a great performance in his last start against Baltimore, holding the O’s to just three runs in 7 1/3 innings in what ended up being a 4-3 Red Sox win.

Tillman (16-6, 3.70 ERA) has excelled against the Red Sox this season, as he is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four starts. The right-hander has enjoyed his best season of his young career in 2013, as he is third in the AL in wins and win percentage (.727).

In his last start, Tillman took the loss against the Blue Jays on Saturday, despite going eight innings and only allowing four earned runs. In terms of Tillman’s last start against Boston on Aug. 29, it was another dominant performance for the 25-year-old, as he only surrendered two runs over seven innings in what ended up being a 3-2 Baltimore victory.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Wei-Yin Chen 09.18.13 at 9:36 am ET
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Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy

The Red Sox’ final homestand of the season will continue on Wednesday, as Jake Peavy will take the mound opposite left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Peavy (11-5, 4.03 ERA) has enjoyed his stint in Boston this season, as the right-hander has only lost one of his eight starts with the Red Sox after being traded from the White Sox on July 30.

Peavy was solid in his last start against the Rays on Sept. 12, as he held the Tampa lineup to four hits and three earned runs over six inning. However, Peavy’s signature control was nowhere to be found as he tied a season high with five walks.

Despite Peavy’s good showing, the bullpen faltered in the later innings and the Red Sox lost to the Rays by a score of 4-3.

A scary moment occurred late in that game, as Peavy was hit in the right wrist by a line drive off the bat of Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings. While he was spotted after the game with tape on his wrist, Peavy said that it should be a non-issue.

“Just the line drive hit me on the wrist, the outer part of the wrist,” Peavy said after the game. “It will be OK.”

The last time Peavy faced Baltimore was April 18, 2012. Peavy was excellent against the O’s in that contest, as he only allowed one run and struck out eight batters over seven innings.

Chen (7-7, 3.99 ERA) will be looking to redeem himself after putting up one of his worst starts of the season against the Sox four outings ago. In that game on Aug. 27, Chen gave up eight earned runs over just 3 2/3 innings in what ended up being a 13-2 win for Boston.

In his most recent start, Chen struggled again, this time against the Yankees last Thursday, as he allowed seven hits and five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Chris Tillman 08.29.13 at 10:00 am ET
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Jon Lester

Jon Lester

After struggling in June with an unsightly 7.62 ERA in five starts, Jon Lester appears to finally have reverted back into his role as ace of the Red Sox rotation with a 2.70 ERA in August.

Lester looks to continue his stretch of strong starts on Thursday, as the lefty and the Sox will face off against right-hander Chris Tillman and the Orioles in the finale of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Lester had one of the strongest starts of any pitcher in the American League this season, as he went undefeated in six April starts with a 4-0 record and a 3.11 ERA.

Along with Clay Buchholz (1.19 April ERA), Lester was one of the chief reasons why the Sox led all MLB clubs with a 19-8 record that month.

However, it seemed like Lester hit a wall in June, as the lefty surrendered 38 hits in 28 1/3 June innings and gave up eight home runs, two more than he had allowed in April and May combined.

The Red Sox gave the beleaguered pitcher nine days of rest from July 14-22 by shuffling their rotation after the All-Star break. It appears that extra rest has paid off in a major way for Lester, who has a 4-1 record with a 2.31 ERA in his seven starts since the All-Star break. He has only given up one home run in his last 33 1/3 innings.

In his latest start on Saturday, his first career appearance against the Dodgers, Lester held one of the hottest teams in baseball in check for 7 1/3 innings and only allowed three hits. Koji Uehara retired the last four LA batters to secure the 4-2 victory for the Sox and give Lester his 12th win of the season.

“I know what I’m capable of. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it,” Lester said after the game. “Since the break, I’ve felt good physically, and I feel like I’m in a good place throwing the ball right now.”

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Closing Time: Joel Hanrahan implodes in Red Sox’ loss to Orioles 04.10.13 at 10:45 pm ET
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Joel Hanrahan

The Red Sox’ sellout streak came to an end Wednesday night, and so did the team’s seemingly unstoppable wave of optimism (at least for a day).

Joel Hanrahan surrendered five runs in the ninth inning — blowing a two-run Red Sox lead — on the way to dropping an 8-5 loss to Baltimore.

The Orioles tied the game with two outs in the ninth when Hanrahan’s wild pitch allowed pinch-runner Alexi Casilla to come in. The Sox closer then surrendered a three-run homer to Manny Machado over the left-field wall, sealing the hosts’ fate.

It also was, of course, the first time in 820 games (including the postseason) that the Red Sox hadn’t played before a sellout crowd at Fenway (dating back to May 15, 2003).

The Red Sox had claimed what looked to be the decisive lead thanks to back-to-back home runs from Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the sixth inning against Baltimore reliever Tommy Hunter. Nava’s solo shot broke open a 3-3 tie, just clearing the left-field wall, while Saltalamacchia launched his over the Red Sox’ bullpen. It was Nava’s third homer of the season (and the second time he was involved in back-to-back homers this season) and Saltalamacchia’s first.

Prior to Hanrahan’s outing, the Red Sox bullpen had turned in another solid performance, with Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Bailey teaming for three innings of hitless, scoreless relief.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss.

WHAT WENT WRONG

• After beginning the season with seven error-free games, the Red Sox outfielders stopped the streak, committing a pair. The first miscue came in the first inning, when Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a fly ball off the bat of Machado. Ellsbury appeared to be distracted by right fielder Shane Victorino, who was also positioning himself to make the catch. Victorino was actually charged with the error. Jackie Bradley then committed his first miscue as a major leaguer, dropping the ball while trying to mount a throw home on Matt Wieters’ single.

• After taking a two-run lead in the third, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster gave the lead back up in the following frame. The Orioles first closed the gap to a single run when Nick Markakis hit his first homer of the season into the Red Sox’ bullpen to lead off the inning. Then, after an Adam Jones single and Dempster wild pitch, Wieters plated his teammate with the game-tying run via a single to left.

• Hanrahan has now allowed homers in back-to-back games. It was the first time he has suffered such a fate since April 17-18, 2009. The outing also marked just the second time the closer had allowed as many as five runs as a reliever.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

• Dempster turned in a solid performance, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits over five innings. The righty, who threw 93 pitches before exiting following the rain delay, struck out seven and walked three. After two starts this season, his ERA stands at 3.60.

• Saltalmacchia kick-started the Red Sox’ offense after the Sox fell into a 1-0 hole, lofting a run-scoring double off the second inning, scoring Nava. Saltalamacchia would add another double in the fourth, eventually finding himself stranded at third base.

• The speedy trio of Bradley, Ellsbury and Victorino helped the Red Sox gain the lead in the fourth. After a Bradley walk, Ellsbury rifled a triple into the left field corner which Baltimore outfielder Nate McLouth couldn’t come up with after diving. After Ellsbury’s arrival at third, Victorino would promptly plate the Sox’ third run via a sacrifice fly.

• Uehara continued to cruise thus far, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning. The righty, who needed 14 pitches to retire his first six batters of the season, got all three Orioles he faced on a total of 12 pitches this time. Uehara hasn’t gone to one 1-0 count yet this season, having managed a single 1-1 count. He was followed by Tazawa, who also was perfect in his one inning of work (striking out two).

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