The Boston Red Sox will attempt to win their sixth consecutive game Sunday when they face the host Baltimore Orioles.
When the Red Sox were swept at home to open the season by this same Baltimore squad, there was plenty of gloom and doom.
The fact that Boston had not started a season by going0-3 at Fenway Park since 1948 did not help things.
"We're off to a rough start," manager Alex Cora said.
Well, things have brightened in Boston.
On Saturday night, the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-4 in 10 innings for their fifth consecutive win. Boston has not lost since being swept by the Orioles.
Sunday, the Red Sox can return the favor as they go for the three-game sweep against the Orioles. Baltimore has lost four of five since that 3-0 start at Fenway.
The Orioles will have righty Jorge Lopez (0-1, 7.71) on the mound.
Lopez, who lost to the Yankees last week in his initial start of the season, is trying to end a personal three-game losing streak which dates back to his final two starts of 2020.
In his first start of 2021, Lopez gave up four runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
Lopez started last season with Kansas City and appeared in nine games (six starts) with the O's, going 2-2 with a 6.34 ERA.
He has pitched against the Red Sox only twice, both coming in relief. He has been charged with seven earned runs in six innings against Boston.
Righty Nick Pivetta (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will counter for Boston after a successful first outing against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pivetta went five innings in Boston's 11-2 win last Monday, giving up two hits and striking out four.
He is now 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA in three starts as a member of the Red Sox. Boston acquired him in a deal with Philadelphia last season.
Beating the Rays was big for Pivetta and the Red Sox as they were coming off the sweep.
"It was nice to get out there," Pivetta said. "It was really exciting, I had a lot of fun, and this gets the monkey off our backs a little bit. We can all just kind of roll forward from here."
Before Saturday's game, the Orioles made a roster move as they activated outfielder DJ Stewart from the 10-day IL as he had been out since March 5 with a left hamstring strain.
He went 1-for-3 with a walk in his debut as he batted fifth in the lineup.
Pat Valaika was optioned to the alternate training site to create roster space.
"I have had hamstring problems before in the minor leagues, and this one felt worse than those had been," Stewart said Saturday. "It definitely took longer than I expected it to, but I thought it would be longer than a week or two. I'm just happy it's behind me and I am healthy now."
The Red Sox will be without J.D. Martinez after he was placed on the COVID-19 IL on Saturday. Martinez is hitting .433 (13-for-30) with seven doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
The Red Sox replaced Martinez on the 26-man roster with infielder Michael Chavis, who was called up from the alternate training site at Triple-A Worcester.
--Field Level Media