04/19/09 12:18 AM ET
Uehara set to make Fenway debut
Baltimore (6-5) at Boston (5-6), 1:35 p.m. ET
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
"I know it's a very historic venue," Uehara said via interpreter Jiwon Bang. "The Green Monster itself is really famous in Japan, but obviously I've only seen it on television. ... Maybe [David] Ortiz is bigger."
Uehara will get his first chance to ascertain that Sunday, when he faces Ortiz and a larger-than-life Boston offense that has handled Baltimore's pitching staff in the first two games of the series. The Orioles will go into Sunday's game with a three-game losing streak and having lost nine of their past 11 games at Fenway Park.
Still, that won't be on Uehara's mind when he takes the hill. Baltimore's rookie starter -- who starred for 10 seasons in his native Japan before coming over to the Major Leagues -- will be looking to avenge a difficult start in Texas. Uehara had an extra day's rest before this outing, but he doesn't expect that to be much of a factor.
"It won't necessarily help, but it's the skipper's decision," said Uehara, who pitched once every six days in Japan. "All I have to do is follow. I'm just going to pitch on the day that he expects me to pitch."
And this time, he'll throw to whomever manager Dave Trembley expects to catch. Trembley elected to start Gregg Zaun in two consecutive night games, which means that he'll need a day off in Sunday's day game. That cedes the catching duties to Chad Moeller, who hasn't caught Uehara yet during the regular season.
In Trembley's mind, though, it won't really matter who's catching.
"He's been pitching for a very long time, and he's been very good at it," Trembley said. "From what I've seen, the plan that he has when he pitches is his own plan. It's not based on what the catcher's calling. The guy's a very good student of the game and studies the other team's hitters. He looks at the video and the reports."Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Koji Uehara (2-0, 7.20 ERA)
Uehara has won each of his first two starts despite not going farther than five innings in either of them. The right-hander allowed seven earned runs in his last outing, which was part of a demolition derby three-game series against the Rangers. Uehara, an extreme strike-thrower, has had problems gripping the American baseball in each of his first two big league starts. BOS: LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 9.00 ERA)
Lester has opened the season in a funk, being belted around for 18 hits and 11 runs in losses to the Rays and Athletics. The lefty was the victim of a five-run second inning in his performance against Oakland. In that contest, he walked none and struck out five. Perhaps facing the Orioles will cure what ails Lester. Lester is 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA in eight career starts against Baltimore. Bird bites
The Orioles won their first three series, but they will need to win two straight games to avoid losing this one. ... Baltimore's rotation has pitched just 22 2/3 innings over the past six games -- four of them losses -- and has been battered around for 43 hits, nine home runs and 27 earned runs. The Orioles' starters have allowed five earned runs or more in three of the past five games. ... Nick Markakis has hit safely in nine of the team's 11 games this season. Markakis has a five-game hitting streak and is batting .350 (7-for-20) with nine RBIs over that span. Tickets
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Monday: Orioles (Mark Hendrickson, 1-1, 3.00) at Red Sox (Justin Masterson, 0-0, 4.50), 11:05 a.m. ET
Tuesday: Orioles (TBD) vs. White Sox (Jose Contreras, 0-2, 6.97), 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 2-0, 4.32) vs. White Sox (John Danks, 1-0, 0.75), 7:05 p.m. ET
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.