Baltimore Orioles Host Boston Red Sox in Key AL East Showdown

Jose Iglesias Boston Red Sox

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Every series in the American League East is sure to be intense for the rest of the 2013 season. There is little doubt it is one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the top four teams currently separated by just five games.

That doesn’t even include the Toronto Blue Jays, who have already fallen 11.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox but certainly have the star-power to make noise.

The Baltimore Orioles will have a chance to cut into the Red Sox’ three game lead over them this weekend as the two teams meet in Maryland for a four-game set. No lead will feel safe in these games, as they’ve combined for 165 home runs in 133 games.

The Red Sox haven’t lost a series since May 20-22 against the Chicago White Sox.  The Orioles took two of three games at Boston in the only other series the teams have played against each other in the beginning of April.

The Orioles are going to have to figure out a way to slow Red Sox third-baseman Jose Iglesias, who is batting .469 since June 1st and has scored nine runs. But the Orioles have a pretty solid third-baseman themselves in Manny Machado. Machado has been a doubles-machine this season, already tallying 28.

Orioles’ starter Kevin Gausman will be looking for his first career win after entering his first MLB season with very high expectations. The 22-year-old is 0-3 with an abysmal 8.84 ERA.  You might assume playing in Baltimore has had something to do with his inflated numbers, but three of his four starts have been on the road.  His only appearance at Camden Yards was surprisingly his best as he went six innings without issuing a walk where he allowed just one earned run.

Gausman was most successful against the Detroit Tigers because he kept the ball down in the strike zone, inducing 12 ground-ball outs.  He’s going to need to do the same against the Red Sox if he hopes to keep his team in the game.

Felix Doubront will get the start for the Red Sox Thursday.

David Fouty is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davefouty, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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