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Talking Behind Their Back: Rangers

The Orioles dropped their second series of the season to fall to 9-11 on the season. What was most painful about the series was that all three losses to the Texas Rangers were by one run.

As per usual, the top three hitters in the Orioles lineup did most of the damage. Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis combined for 19 hits, 11 runs and 11 RBI during the four game home series against the Rangers while hitting .333 and accounting for more than half of the team's 21 runs against Texas. Nick Markakis is also currently in the middle of a 14-game hitting streak.

Conversely, the starting pitching was not very good for the Orioles. Koji Uehara easily had the best start of the series for Baltimore, going 6 2/3 innings while giving up four runs in the series opener. When Uehara left the game he was in line for the win. Jeremy Guthrie in yesterday's finale was the only other pitcher to leave the game with a lead though he did turn a 4-0 lead into a 4-3 lead.

In the middle games, Mark Hendrickson (six runs, 4 1/3 innings) and Brad Bergesen (five runs, 4 innings) were torched, especially by the long ball. Hendrickson gave up four home runs in his Saturday night start while Bergesen allowed three to leave Camden Yards on Sunday.

Home runs were the key for Texas as the Rangers hit 10 in the series and lead the majors with 39 on the season. In fact, it was a home run in the top of the ninth off of closer George Sherrill that gave Texas its 6-5 win in the series opener.

Coming in to Camden Yards for a quick two-game set are the Los Angeles Angels who are almost the exact opposite of the Rangers offensively.

The Angels have hit just 16 home runs on the season (good for 23rd in the league) but hit more for average (.278, sixth in the majors) yet have trouble getting runs in as they are 14th in the league in runs scored (91).

All of this explains why the Angels check in at a paltry 7-11 on the season despite a decent lineup. Compounding things for Los Angeles has been a lost starting rotation. Everyone knows about the tragic death of Nick Adenhart but before that, the Angels were already in dire straits with their rotation. John Lackey, Dustin Moseley, and Ervin Santana combined to start 66 games for Los Angeles last year but all are injured this year and have yet to make an appearance for the club.

As a result the Angels have had to go with the likes of Shane Loux (Wednesday's starter) and Anthony Ortega to complement Virginia native Joe Saunders (tonight's pitcher) and Jered Weaver. Fittingly, the Angels are only a few spots ahead of the Orioles in team ERA (5.07) and have given up the sixth most hits of any team (186) which makes their pitching staff better than the Orioles (5.83 ERA, major-league worst 222 hits) but still not something to be proud of.

I see this series ending in a split. Saunders (2-1, 3.51 ERA) should be able to out-pitch Adam Eaton (1-2, 7.04) despite the fact that Eaton is coming off of his best start in years. In Wednesday's second game/series finale, the Orioles should be able to knock around Loux (0-2, 6.61) and Uehara should be able to turn in another solid start.

The Orioles pitching staff will have to do so without reliever Matt Albers, however. Albers was sent down to Class AAA Norfolk today to make room for a healthy Melvin Mora. Albers didn't do himself any favors last night, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning to catch the loss.

By CJ Holley  |  April 28, 2009; 4:13 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Orioles , Rangers  
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