Matt Harvey will have a tough act to follow on the mound as Baltimore opens a weekend series against visiting American League East rival Boston on Friday night.
The veteran right-hander gets the start in the Orioles’ first game since left-hander John Means threw the team’s first no-hitter in 50 years in a 6-0 win at Seattle on Wednesday.
Means struck out 12 and was a stray wild pitch away from perfection to help last-place Baltimore take two out of three against the Mariners for their fifth win in seven games.
“The last three outs, seeing how the teammates embraced him, our clubhouse after the game — it was like we clinched a playoff spot,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just haven’t had a whole lot to cheer for the last couple years. To watch our guys celebrate, you know, it’s a cool moment — because this is a tough game.”
Harvey (3-1, 4.06 ERA) has won three straight starts and is hoping some of Means’ magic rubs off on him as he seeks his first career win against the Red Sox. The New London, Conn., native has an 0-1 record with a 3.45 ERA in three career starts against Boston — two of which have come this season.
Harvey tossed 4 2/3 innings of two-run ball on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision in Baltimore’s 4-2 win on April 3 at Fenway Park. Five days later, he took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts over five innings in a 7-3 home defeat against Boston.
Boston slugger J.D. Martinez is 4-for-6 with an RBI lifetime against Harvey, while Christian Vazquez is a perfect 3-for-3. Rafael Devers (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Franchy Cordero (1-for-6) have both taken Harvey deep in previous meetings.
The Red Sox will hand the ball to their ace as southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (4-0, 4.18 ERA) takes the mound for the opener.
Rodriguez won his first four starts while allowing nine runs over 23 innings before hitting a bump on May 1 against Texas. He gave up a season-high four runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts over five innings in an 8-6 defeat for Boston.
Once a top prospect for the Orioles, Rodriguez has flourished against his former team while going 10-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 20 games (18 starts).
After beginning the season on the injured list with left elbow inflammation, Rodriguez made his season debut at Baltimore on April 8. He gave up three runs on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in a 7-3 victory.
The first-place Red Sox have won six of 10, but needed a come-from-behind 12-9 win against Detroit on Thursday afternoon to salvage a three-game series win.
“We won two out of three, and now we move on,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We have to address a lot of stuff, we know that. For us to get to where we want to go, we have to be a lot better.”
Boston was outscored 18-5 and swept by Baltimore in its season-opening three-game series on April 2-4 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox returned the favor with a three-game sweep on April 8-11 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
–Field Level Media