Ryan Dempster and Jake Arrieta worked through uneven outings to ring in the new season. There were some things to like -- Dempster's eight strikeouts in his Red Sox debut, Arrieta's 1-2-3 first inning -- but a few things they can't afford to repeat their second time around.
Both pitchers will get a chance to smooth things over Wednesday night at Fenway Park, when the Orioles look to even up the score with the Red Sox.
This will be Dempster's first home start at Fenway Park, and among the things he needs to improve is his efficiency. He took the loss in his season debut primarily because he was facing Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte, who shut down Boston with a dominant performance straight out of 1996. But Dempster also needed 101 pitches to get through just five innings, as he walked four batters and scattered five hits while permitting three runs.
"I just got outpitched by the guy on the other side of the field," Demspter said Thursday. "I made a lot of good pitches and a couple balls fell in. That was enough to win the game."
Arrieta also pitched only five innings in his first start of the season, failing to record an out after coming out to pitch the sixth. He gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out five on 93 pitches, putting together a few dominant innings but struggling through others. Baltimore went on to win that game Friday thanks to Chris Davis' tie-breaking grand slam in the eighth inning.
"You can see why Jake has the chance to be so good and why he kind of gets away from it a little bit," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday. "We got back in that ballgame, tied it up and then he struggled a little bit. That's something we need to be better at."
Arrieta, who's starting Wednesday to give right-hander Miguel Gonzalez more time to rest, won the final spot in the Orioles' rotation in Spring Training. He went 3-9 with a 6.20 ERA in 24 games last year and admitted Friday that he needs to improve on what he did in his first outing.
"There's things I would have liked to do a little bit better, established a few more things earlier in the game and minimize the damage," Arrieta said. "That's the thing for me, to not let the inning get out of hand like it did in the fourth."
Orioles: Davis named AL Player of the Week
Davis, who went 0-for-1 with two walks in Baltimore's series-opening 3-1 loss, was awarded American League Player of the Week honors on Monday, technically his second straight honor. He shared the award with Tigers ace Justin Verlander during the last week of the 2012 regular season.
Davis put up historically great numbers to start the season, hitting .455 (10-for-22) with four homers and 17 RBIs in six games. He led all Major Leaguers in RBIs and slugging percentage (1.136) and became the first Oriole and fourth Major League hitter to homer in each of the first four games of a season. That put him in elite company with Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998) and Nelson Cruz (2011).
"Chris just kind of understands who he is and what he has to do," Showalter said. "He has some periods where he'll get away from it. Hopefully his valleys won't be as long and he can stay in that peak period. That's what he's trying to do. He's very mature about where he is offensively."
• Nolan Reimold said his right hamstring felt better Monday, and he's still optimistic he won't have to go on the disabled list. Reimold left Sunday's game with tightness in the area and didn't play Monday, but he told Showalter he was available, if necessary. Infielder Yamaico Navarro is in Boston in case the Orioles need to make a move to deepen their bench.
Red Sox: Lackey could avoid DL stint
• The Red Sox won't place John Lackey on the disabled list until they find reason to believe he'll need a few weeks to recover from the right biceps strain that prematurely ended his outing Saturday, his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
With Tuesday's off-day, Boston won't need a fifth starter until Sunday. Alfredo Aceves could start that game if Lackey isn't ready. At the very least, it appears Lackey's next start will be pushed back.
"Any time a pitcher, regardless of what they've come through, in John's case, when a pitcher walks off the mound in the middle of an inning, we're going do to what's in his best interest and not risk anything health-wise," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Before he gets back on the mound, we'll have to put him through a good test of some sort, whether that's an extended [bullpen session], a [simulated] game -- that will be taken into account."
• Stephen Drew will be activated off the seven-day DL on Wednesday and is expected to make his Red Sox debut at shortstop. The 30-year-old suffered a concussion on March 7, when a pitch hit him in the helmet. After signing a one-year, $9.5 million contract this past offseason, Drew went 3-for-16 (.188) in Grapefruit League action before the injury. Jose Iglesias reportedly will be sent to Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move.
• The Orioles won 13 of their 18 games against the Red Sox last season, the club's first season-series victory over Boston since 2004. The Red Sox hadn't lost 13 games to the Orioles in one season since 1970.
• With Monday's victory, the Red Sox have won their last nine home openers, the longest home-opening win streak in club history and the longest active streak among all Major League teams.