American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 2nd (All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (0-1) at Baltimore Orioles (1-0), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - John Lackey (0-0, 0.00) Baltimore - Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Ubaldo Jimenez makes his Baltimore debut on Wednesday, as the Orioles try to beat the Boston Red Sox for the second time in as many contests at Camden Yards.
Jimenez signed a 4-year, $52 million deal with the Orioles late in the offseason after enjoying a nice rebound year with the Cleveland Indians in 2013 that saw him go 13-9 with a 3.30 earned run average and 194 strikeouts over 32 starts that spanned 182 2/3 innings.
He had lost a league-high 17 games in 2012.
"I'm very excited to go out there with my new team and my new teammates wearing the Orioles uniform," said Jimenez, who finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting back in 2010. "I came in a little bit later, but I was able to catch up. I was able to throw the pitches that I need to be ready for the season. So I feel good."
Boston, meanwhile, will turn to righty John Lackey, who, of course, won the Game 6 clincher of the World Series for the Red Sox a year ago. Like Jimenez, Lackey had a bit of a resurgence last season, a year removed from Tommy John surgery.
After missing all of 2012 Lackey made 29 starts and was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA. He got better as the year wore on and was 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA during the Red Sox' run to the title.
Lackey, though, pitched to a 6.27 ERA this spring, but nobody seemed that concerned.
"He progressed as we could have hoped," said Boston manager John Farrell. "He showed his best arm strength and best overall stuff in his final outing. We took a pretty clear and designed approach towards getting him to game speed and then ultimately to 90-plus pitches. The most encouraging outing was four days ago, and we're looking forward to him getting on the mound Wednesday."
Baltimore can only hope that Jimenez makes the type of impression that Nelson Cruz did in his debut on Monday, as his tie-breaking home run in the seventh proved to be the difference in the O's 2-1 win.
Cruz, signed by the Orioles just prior to the start of spring training after finding a cold market in free agency, smacked the first pitch he saw from Jon Lester into the left-field seats of his new home park to snap a 1-1 tie in the seventh. The former Texas slugger also scored Baltimore's other run after reaching on a walk in his initial at-bat.
The blast made a winner out of Zach Britton (1-0), who twirled two scoreless innings in relief of starter Chris Tillman. Tommy Hunter got out of a jam in the ninth to protect the one-run lead and secure his first save of the season.
Cruz's homer also spoiled a memorable return to the majors for Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore, who went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in his first big league outing since Sept. 22, 2011.
However, Boston failed to provide any other support for Lester (0-1), who fanned eight over seven innings but gave up both Baltimore runs in a hard-luck defeat.
"I thought Jon Lester was in control of the ball game here today," said Farrell. "(The Orioles) made the most of the hits that they put up."
Baltimore was 11-8 against the Red Sox last season.
04/02 10:28:24 ET