09/19/10 6:13 PM ET
O's in a good place heading to Boston
By James Hall / MLB.com
Despite being virtually removed from playoff contention since the end of April, the Orioles, under new manager Buck Showalter, have been playing like a team with postseason aspirations.
From Aug. 27 onward, the down-and-out O's have boasted an impressive 14-7 record. Not only does the winning percentage speak for itself, but over that span, Baltimore has won series against the Angels, Rays, Yankees, Tigers and Blue Jays -- stiff competition, to say the least.
Following Sunday's thrilling 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings over the Yankees, the Orioles will look to build on their momentum on Monday at Fenway Park, where they begin a nine-game road trip that precedes a season-concluding four-game set against the Tigers at home.
Starting for the O's on Monday will be 23-year-old lefty Brian Matusz. Similar to the rest of the O's staff, which as a whole has posted a 3.07 ERA since Showalter took the reins, Matusz has been outstanding of late. The southpaw has surrendered three runs or fewer in his last five starts, showcasing a 4-0 record with a 1.93 ERA.
Matusz left his last outing after recording just three outs, as he suffered a left triceps bruise that called Monday's start into question. However, preparing to work on six days' rest, the youngster said he felt good to go.
Unlike the Orioles, the Red Sox have been unable to make a late-season charge. Since Aug. 27, the Sox have gone 10-11, while losing two of three to the Blue Jays this past weekend.
Boston will send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the hill opposite Matusz. Dice-K has struggled mightily, having allowed four earned runs or more in each of his last six starts. Over that period, the right-hander has an ERA of 7.12, with 41 hits and 17 walks allowed in 36 2/3 innings. His last quality start was on Aug. 5.
Orioles: Shuffling the deck
Originally scheduled to start on Wednesday, Brad Bergesen will instead pitch on Tuesday for the O's. Showalter made the announcement prior to Sunday's series finale against the Yankees, citing that either Kevin Millwood or long man Rick VandenHurk will get the nod on Wednesday. As a result of using a six-man rotation, and Thursday's off-day, Bergesen -- who tossed a complete-game victory against Toronto on Wednesday -- will still pitch on five days' rest. The series of moves within the rotation stems from Saturday's news that the club will shut down rookie Jake Arrieta.
Red Sox: Play it safe
Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre was held out of Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays after injuring his left wrist while diving for a John McDonald grounder on Saturday night. Yamaico Navarro started at third in place of Beltre, who remains just two homers shy of matching Butch Hobson's club record of 30 dingers by a third baseman, set in 1977.
"We sent [Beltre] over to [Massachusetts General Hospital] to get some further testing this morning," manager Terry Francona said. "That's why we [held] off on the lineup. He's sore but not bad, and his grip strength is down a little bit, but not horrible. So we told him, 'If you want to play, go get checked,' and he obviously wants to play."
Red Sox starting pitcher Tim Wakefield, who is the club's 2010 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, was honored prior to Sunday's contest at Fenway Park. Since joining the Red Sox in 1995, Wakefield has been nominated for the prestigious award -- which recognizes an individual's involvement within the community -- eight times. Chevrolet made a donation to Pitching in for Kids on his behalf. Fans can help Wakefield win the national Roberto Clemente Award by voting online at MLB.com through Oct. 8.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.