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Preview: Red Sox (7-9) at Orioles (7-7)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Date: September 27, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

The Boston Red Sox enter the final series of the season in prime position to claim home-field advantage in the AL playoffs.

Though their own playoff hopes have already evaporated, the Baltimore Orioles can still capture their second straight season series against the Red Sox for the first time in 21 years.

Boston visits Baltimore on Friday night with Clay Buchholz looking to bounce back from his lone loss.

The Red Sox pushed themselves two games ahead of Oakland for the league's best record and trimmed their magic number for home-field advantage to two following a 15-5 victory at Colorado on Wednesday. The Athletics end their season with three games in Seattle.


Will Middlebrooks provided two homers for a career-high seven RBIs Wednesday, including his third career grand slam. He's just 8 for 37 (.216) in 11 games versus Baltimore this year.

"It's good to see him in the stretch he's been in of late, to not only drive the ball out of the ballpark but stay on the ball and drive it out to right field," manager John Farrell said as one of Middlebrooks' homers went to the opposite field. "That's when we feel like he's got good plate coverage and he's at his best."

With a sweep, Boston (96-63) would match the fourth-best record in franchise history (1978).

The Red Sox would seem to have a good chance to add to their win total considering they're 13-2 in games Buchholz (11-1, 1.60 ERA) starts, but one of those defeats came against Toronto on Saturday. The right-hander yielded three runs in six innings of a 4-2 setback after allowing one run over 11 innings in winning his first two starts since a strained neck kept him out for more than three months.

But Buchholz seems to be finding his form, as his pitch counts have increased steadily from 74 to 91 to 106 since returning.

"I feel good. Movement on all the pitches is there," he said. "It's just the command and location and where to start it, which is sometimes hard to get better. The velocity is there and the body feels good."

Buchholz is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA over his last three starts against Baltimore, including seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory on April 8. He's also 5-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five road starts overall this year.

The Orioles (83-76) are one win away from clinching the season series as they lead it 9-7 after taking two of three at Fenway last week. They haven't done so in two straight years since 1991-92.

Home run leader Chris Davis didn't play Thursday due to an illness but Baltimore took a 3-2 win over Toronto, the club's second in a row after a six-game skid. Davis has six homers and 14 RBIs in 16 meetings with Boston this year despite batting .226 with 27 strikeouts. He's 3 for 15 off Buchholz with one homer and six strikeouts.

Starting for the Orioles will be Scott Feldman (5-5, 3.57), who is 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA over his last eight starts. In Boston on Sept. 17, the right-hander gave up two runs and two hits in five innings but walked a career-high six and didn't get a decision in a 3-2 win.

Mike Napoli has been out of Boston's lineup for four straight games due to plantar fasciitis but Farrell told the team's official website he'll likely play first base Friday. He is 11 for 27 (.407) off Feldman with two home runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury was 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs against Colorado on Wednesday after missing 16 contests with a fractured right foot. He's hitting .441 with five stolen bases during an eight-game hitting streak versus Baltimore.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Red Sox at Orioles
Fri, Sep 27 Final 12 to 3
 Boxscores    Recaps
Red Sox at Orioles
Sat, Sep 28 Final 5 to 6
 Boxscores    Recaps
Red Sox at Orioles
Sun, Sep 29 Final 6 to 7
 Boxscores    Recaps

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 BOS  -130   +125   7.5 
 BAL  +120   -145   

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 BOS  -138   +120   7.5 
 BAL  +128   -140   

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 BOS  74%   92%   70% 
 BAL  26%   8%   30% 

 Sep 19, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 1 Under: 4 
 BOS 3 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Sep 18, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 5 Cover: +135 
 BOS 3 Under: 8 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Sep 17, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 3 Cover: +105 
 BOS 2 Under: 5 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Aug 29, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 3 Cover: +134 
 BOS 2 Under: 5 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Aug 28, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 3 Under: 7 
 BOS 4 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Aug 27, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BAL 2 Over: 15 
 BOS 13 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 28, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 5 Cover: +100 
 BAL 0 Under: 5 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 27, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 7 Cover: +115 
 BAL 3 Over: 10 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 26, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 0 Under: 6 
 BAL 6 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 16, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 3 Push: 9 
 BAL 6 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 Friday, Sep 27
    Red Sox at Orioles
7:05 PM EDT
    Rays at Blue Jays
7:05 PM EDT
    Tigers at Marlins
7:10 PM EDT
    Brewers at Mets
7:10 PM EDT
    Pirates at Reds
7:10 PM EDT
    Phillies at Braves
7:35 PM EDT
    Angels at Rangers
8:05 PM EDT
    Royals at White Sox
8:10 PM EDT
    Indians at Twins
8:10 PM EDT
    Yankees at Astros
8:10 PM EDT
    Cubs at Cardinals
8:15 PM EDT
    Nationals at Diamondbacks
9:40 PM EDT
    Athletics at Mariners
10:10 PM EDT
    Rockies at Dodgers
10:10 PM EDT
    Padres at Giants
10:15 PM EDT
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