The Baltimore Orioles have won 34 of their last 51 games and find themselves firmly entrenched in the race for an American League wild-card berth.
The upstart Orioles are so hot, in fact, that a rainout Wednesday may have been the only thing able to keep them from taking all three games in theirseries against Toronto.
Baltimore will look to heat back up on Thursday in a visit to Boston for an abbreviated one-game series. The brief pitstop is a result of the 99-day lockout prior to the start of the season.
While pleased with his team's success, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is quick to echo Washington Nationals skipper Dave Martinez's "Go 1-0 today" mantra.
"I've heard him say it a bunch of times, and I'm very close to him," Hyde told the Baltimore Sun. "That's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to try to not look too far ahead and try to win tonight's game. And if you don't, it's going to bite you. Do the task that's in front of you."
Right-hander Dean Kremer (4-3, 3.43 ERA), who was scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, is expected to get the nod on Thursday.
Kremer, 26, scattered four hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. He is 0-2 with an 11.74 ERA and 2.087 WHIP in two career starts versus the Red Sox.
Kremer would be wise to pitch carefully to in-season acquisition Tommy Pham, who went deep for the third straight game with a three-run shot in Boston's 8-4 setback to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
"The thing with Tommy is he stays in the zone, he doesn't expand," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "His strikeouts in Kansas City were looking but at the edge of the zone. When he gets pitches in the zone he puts good swings. He's doing a good job for us."
Pham, however, went 0-for-10 with five strikeouts in a three-game series against the Orioles the final three days in July -- his final games before being traded to Boston.
The Red Sox will look to right-hander Josh Winckowski (5-5, 4.68) to snap their four-game skid.
Winckowski, 24, has answered a four-start losing streak with back-to-back victories. He allowed two runs in five innings in a 7-2 win over Milwaukee on July 31 and one run over five frames in a 7-4 triumph at Kansas City on Friday.
Winckowski, however, lost his lone career encounter against Baltimore in his major league debut on May 28. He surrendered a three-run homer to Rougned Odor and gave up four runs on six hits overall in three innings in the 4-2 loss.
Odor also went deep on Tuesday with a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Orioles' 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.
"Roogie has come up with some big hits for us, and I love the attitude he brings," Hyde said. "I feel like he brings some toughness to us, I think he brings some edge, I love what he's like in the dugout and attitude-wise, and he comes ready to play. I think it's rubbed off on others this year."
--Field Level Media