The Baltimore Orioles have seen it all this season. From bench-clearing brawls, to “can’t miss” pitchers who…well, miss, the Orioles have been on the ropes for the last few weeks. While they were able to take two from Cleveland and one from Boston, this is not exactly the type of baseball Buck Showalter may have envisioned when he set foot in the manager’s office of Camden Yards for the first time.
The Los Angeles (53-46) haven’t played the Orioles yet this season, which may not be a bad thing for them. In 2010, the O’s swept the season series, which is also important seeing as the Orioles lead the all-time series 335-275. All of this may not phase the Angels, who have the best record in the league since June 13.
When the Angels score first, they are 34-14, which is important for the Orioles starters, who tend to give early leads. Baltimore will attempt to silence the hottest team in baseball with Nick Markakis, who must have had a hit-list coming into this season.
Since June 8, Markakis has had two separate hit streaks over ten games, and has hit .372. Nick Markakis isn’t the only Oriole getting it done however. Last week, Adam Jones caught fire, hitting .364 with seven RBI and three homeruns.
The Orioles will have to continue their home stand against good teams when Los Angeles comes to town. This will be the third consecutive team to roll into Camden Yards with a winning record.
Game One: Friday, July 22, 2011 at 7:05—RHP Ervin Santana (4-8, 3.84 ERA) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (2-2, 4.36)
Ervin Santana takes the hill for the Angels in this series opener. In his last start, against Oakland, Santana gave up eight hits and two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work. While the right-hander struck out six, he did not record a decision. Before that start nearly a week ago, Santana went on a three straight decision win streak, where he pitched at least 7 innings per outing, with only six runs scored.
Alfredo Simon will attempt to bring the Orioles back into the win column for his second straight start. The 30-year old native from the Dominican Republic has returned from his home country after a hearing related to the death of his cousin on New Years. Simon improved immensely in his last appearance, with 7 solid innings of work, allowing only two runs on three hits. He struck out five.
Game Two: July 23, 2011 at 7:05—RHP Joel Piniero (5-4, 4.58 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Bergesen (1-6, 5.76 ERA)
Joel Piniero may be coming off his worst appearance of his career. Last Sunday against Oakland, Pinero only worked 0.1 innings, allowing eight runs on four hits. His four walks and zero homeruns played an important role, considering the start before, he K’ed seven.
Brad Bergesen isn’t exactly feeling the cool breeze of success either. In his last 10 decisions, Bergesen has yet to pick up a win. His most recent outing against the Boston Red Sox saw two long-balls and four total earned runs. One piece of good news may be Bergesen’s lack of walks in the Boston game.
Game Three: July 24, 2011 at 1:35—RHP Tyler Chatwood (5-6, 3.71 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (4-13, 4.35)
In his last start against the Rangers, Tyler Chatwood gave up three runs on seven hits and four walks. Chatwood is known for the free pass, as he averages nearly three per game. In the month of July, Chatwood has pitched 15.1 innings, giving up 23 hits on nine runs (seven earned), with 11 walks and only five strikeouts.
Jeremy Guthrie is coming off of what could possibly have been the most important win of the season. Wins have not come often for the right-hander. A combination of lack of run support, mixed with the knack for giving up untimely homeruns has plagued Guthrie since the beginning of his skid. In his last start, Guthrie pitched seven innings, giving up only two runs (one being a solo homer). He struck out 4.
Look for Guthrie to continue his strong streak. But, against the Angels, the Orioles will need all the firepower they can get. Only scoring two runs will not cut it against one of the best teams in the AL.
By the Numbers:
- The Orioles are on pace to hit over 50 more home runs than they hit in 2010.
- In the last 33 games, the Orioles starting rotation has completed seven innings just four times.
- Since May 8, Koji Uehara has pitched to a 1.11 ERA.
- The Orioles have only made one error (Derek Lee on Monday) in their last 86 innings of work.