The Baltimore Orioles dropped five games behind the first place Yankees in the American League East race after Wednesday night’s 13-1 loss to the Angels. The drubbing gave the Angels a sweep in the brief mid-week two game series against the O’s. Baltimore hopes to get back on track against the struggling Indians this weekend.
Cleveland travels to Baltimore to begin a four game set on Thursday night. The Tribe has lost five straight including a three game sweep against the Yankees. Cleveland sits at 37-37, just 2 1/2 games behind the first place White Sox in the AL Central, despite being outscored by 51 runs on the season. The Indians have allowed the second most runs in the American League behind only the Minnesota Twins.
Lefty We-Yin Chen will start Thursday’s series opener for Baltimore. The Birds hope Chen can stop their two game losing streak. Chen is 7-3 on the season with a 3.38 ERA. Cleveland will counter with 24 year old right-hander Zach McAllister. The rookie is 1-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four starts. He has walked just six batters in 25 2/3 innings. The maddeningly inconsistent Jake Arrieta will start game two for the Orioles. Arrieta was briefly demoted to the bullpen but has rebounded with three straight positive outings. Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz will round out Baltimore’s weekend rotation. Matusz most recently allowed five runs on 13 hits over five innings in Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Angels. Hunter has struggled all season long for the Orioles. He’s 3-4 with a 5.67 ERA and has allowed 19 home runs and 93 hits in just 79 1/3 innings.
Veteran Derek Lowe will take the hill on Friday night for the Indians. The 39 year old had a terrific start to the season but has fallen on hard times of late. Lowe has dropped five of his last six decisions and fallen to 7-6 on the year. Josh Tomlin (3-5) and Justin Masterson (4-7) will round of the Indians’ weekend rotation.
The Orioles have scored just ten runs in the last eight games. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is hitting .098 over his last 10 games and number three hitter Chris Davis is mired in a 1 for 31 slump. The Indians have struggled at the plate recently as well, scoring just 11 runs during the current five game skid.