Before the bullpens factor in Saturday's game at Fenway Park, the Red Sox will send Aaron Cook to the mound to make his debut with the club against Baltimore's Jason Hammel in a matchup with a decidedly Rocky Mountain flavor. Boston (11-14) plated four runs in five innings off Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen in Friday's series opener, but five Baltimore relievers shut the Red Sox down from there, limiting them to three hits over eight scoreless innings. Baltimore (17-9) finally won it 6-4 in the 13th after Chris Davis had an RBI single and Mark Reynolds added a sacrifice fly.
Acquired from Colorado in February's Jeremy Guthrie trade, Hammel (3-1, 1.97 ERA) has been solid for Baltimore so far this season. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his five starts, but got charged with his first loss Monday at New York, yielding two runs over six innings of a 2-1 defeat. Hammel spent the last three seasons in the Rockies rotation alongside Aaron Cook, whom the Red Sox summoned from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday - five days before he could have opted out of the minor league contract he signed in January. The sinkerballer, who spent his first 10 years in the majors with Colorado, is making a spot start in place of Josh Beckett (sore right lat muscle). Cook endured the worst season of his career in 2011, going 3-10 with a 6.03 ERA after missing the first two months with a fractured right hand.
Boston slugger David Ortiz is 6 for 10 with a homer off Hammel, while Dustin Pedroia is 3 for 4 with a home run and a double. The Red Sox have dropped three straight and eight of their last nine at Fenway, where they are 4-8 on the season for their worst home start since 1996. There is a lot of power and consistency in this Orioles lineup, as evident by their 35 HR led by Matt eiters with 7 and Adam Jones with 6. Chris Davis has launched 5 himself and leads the team in batting with a .315 mark which means Cook will have his hands full this afternoon. Boston has won 7 of its last 11 games and is hitting .271 collectively averaging about 5.5 runs per contest. DAvid Ortiz is off to another fast start (.371 6 22) while Cody Ross and Mike Aviles each have 5 dingers and 19 ribs. Going to take a lot of resilience on Hammel's part to keep the Sox hitters at bay at Fenway this afternoon, and we get a reasonable price for both offenses to do their part. Best of luck however you play!