Red Sox heating up ahead of Patriots' Day game vs. O's

Like the 26.2-mile course that runs through the suburbs to Boylston Street in Boston, the Major League Baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

The Red Sox are trying to pick up the pace, though.

Boston seeks its first series victory of the year when it hosts the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a four-game set Monday in the annual Patriots' Day morning game.

While the elite Boston Marathon runners close in on the finish line, the two teams will take the field for first pitch at 11:05 a.m. ET. Right-hander Hector Velazquez (0-0, 2.79 ERA) draws the spot start for the Red Sox in place of Chris Sale, who will pitch Tuesday against the New York Yankees with an extra day of rest.

Right-hander Dan Straily (0-1, 19.29 ERA) makes his second start for the Orioles.

Coming off a 4-0 win Sunday in which David Price pitched seven scoreless innings, the Red Sox, who have won four of their last six games as they try to recover from a 2-8 start, will hope for what they got out of Velazquez in his last spot start. The 30-year-old pitched three innings with just one hit allowed against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 1-0 win on April 7.

"Everybody knew where we were pitching-wise today," Cora said postgame Sunday. "For 1/8Price 3/8 to go seven ... it was very important for us. We reset, and we're ready for the game tomorrow."

Velazquez pitched an inning in Boston's 9-5 loss to the Orioles on Saturday, but Cora indicated that wouldn't play a factor Monday.

Straily, meanwhile, is looking for consistency after signing with Baltimore as a free agent on April 5. His first outing came out of the bullpen against the Yankees on April 7, and he gave up five runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Returning to the rotation to face the Oakland Athletics three days later, Straily was roughed up for five runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The Orioles, who dropped the first game of the series Friday, are in the midst of a 2-9 skid. A day after racking up 13 hits in Saturday's win, they were held to five in Sunday's shutout.

"What cost us the game was not being able to move runners and score runners off David Price, who was really good today, and you've got to be able to execute with him on the mound," Baltimore skipper Brandon Hyde said.

The Orioles have given up a home run in each of their first 16 games this season, tying a major league record set by the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.

The two teams were set to play last Patriots' Day before the game was postponed due to inclement weather. History may repeat itself this year, as the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms in the morning.

If they do play, the Red Sox expect to be without outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who left Sunday's game in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off the top of his right foot in the third. X-rays were negative, and Benintendi is day-to-day with a right foot contusion, the team announced.

"I don't see it as being anything super serious," Benintendi said. "We'll see how it feels (tomorrow) and go from there."

Benintendi was originally out of the starting lineup for the game but was added after Jackie Bradley Jr. was a late scratch with the flu. Bradley's status for Monday is uncertain.

--Field Level Media