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Orioles Review and Preview: Angels, Mariners

The Orioles' West Coast woes continued with a series loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Baltimore was able to take the second game of the four-game series but squandered 4-0 leads in each of the final two games.

Bobby Abreu powered the Angels in the first game, hitting two home runs off of Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie has now given up 19 home runs this season, good for third most in the majors. John Lackey seemed to have little trouble with the Orioles bats, giving up two runs on four hits over eight innings to pick up a 5-2 win for L.A.

In Game 2, the Orioles jumped all over Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana and took an early 4-0 lead (this would become a theme) thanks to Aubrey Huff's three-run homer in the third inning. Unlike the following games, Baltimore added to its lead and held on for a 6-4 victory. The win was the second of David Hernandez's career as he had not won since beating the Detroit Tigers in his major league debut on May 28.

The Orioles again raced out to a 4-0 lead in Saturday's Game 3 behind another three-run third inning, this time against Angels starter Sean O'Sullivan. It was in the fifth inning when things turned against Baltimore as Los Angeles scored 11 unanswered runs by tallying three in the fifth, two in the seventh and six in the eighth.

Two of the O's more reliable players - Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis - combined for a game-changing error as a fly ball landed between the two in the field after it appeared that neither was running especially hard or calling for the ball. The fielding gaffe led to two runs scoring and to Manager Dave Trembley having a meeting with his star second baseman. Roberts has been in and out of slumps all season but was not the only player to be involved in some on-field shenanigans as reliever Brian Bass committed an error and Melvin Mora neglected to cover third on another play.

Jason Berken started the third game but again didn't make it to the sixth, pitching just four innings. Berken has pitched five innings or less in six of eight starts and a demotion seems possible. There has been talk that Chris Tillman could be called up to replace Berken as Tillman has a 2.69 ERA and struck out seven over 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his last start for Class AAA Norfolk.

Though not a rookie, Rich Hill has certainly had his struggles and took the mound for the Orioles in yesterday's series finale. Hill usually scuffles through the first three innings and did so again, allowing three runs in the third inning as the Angels cut into another 4-0 deficit. In the middle innings the teams traded leads before Los Angeles scored three in the seventh inning with all three runs charged to reliever Matt Albers. However it was Chris Ray that allowed two runs to score as he entered the game with the bases loaded and walked the only two batters he faced in what became a 9-6 Angels win.

Ray is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list due pain in his pitching shoulder. The team plans to recall right-handed reliever Kam Mickolio from Norfolk. Ray has worked hard to come back from Tommy John surgery but has had success everywhere this year but in major league games that matter. The former closer tore through spring training and appeared to regain his form while serving a stint in the minors but continues to be unpredictable this year at the major-league level.

Should Mickolio be called up he'll be joining the team in Seattle as Baltimore begins a three-game series with the Mariners.

Seattle nearly swept the Red Sox in Boston and finished a nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record while facing the three best teams in baseball: the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

The Mariners look to keep their momentum going as they face the limping Orioles who will throw out Brad Bergesen, Jeremy Guthrie and David Hernandez.

Bergesen has become the team's most dependable starter and will go against Jarrod Washburn tonight. Washburn has been the victim of poor run support all season, in June he allowed a combined 10 runs in five starts but went just 1-2.

Tomorrow's second game will be a matchup between Orioles Opening Day starters past and present as Guthrie will be opposite Erik Bedard. Guthrie has started Baltimore's past two Opening Days while Bedard did the honors in 2007 (for the record, 2005 and '06 starter Rodrigo Lopez just recently resurfaced, making a start for the Philadelphia Phillies).

The finale will feature Hernandez tying to pick up his second straight win while facing Jason Vargas who has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his past two starts (a loss and a no-decision).

By CJ Holley  |  July 6, 2009; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Mariners , Orioles  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Talking Behind Their Back, los angeles angels  
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Just a question ... When this blog launched wasn't it ballyhooed as a broad look at all of MLB? It has pretty much morphed into yet another online forum for the O's and Nats.

Just saying.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | July 6, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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