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Orioles Review and Preview: Red Sox, Angels

I've changed up the name for what was once called "Talking Behind Their Back" thanks to popular (or unpopular) demand. It's still the same shtick just with a new name. Think of this as more of a re-branding than a new (and awful) innovation.

Baltimore's three-game series against Boston featured a little bit of everything. Umpires made some shoddy calls that went against both teams. The Orioles pulled off an historic comeback in Game 2. Game 3 featured the Red Sox getting some revenge while also showcasing why they're one of the best teams in baseball.

Jason Berken took the ball for Baltimore in Game 1 and took a 4-0 loss. That it was only a four-run loss was impressive considering Berken kept working himself into jams. Berken lasted five innings and gave up four runs on eight hits while walking three, hitting two batters and tallying one balk. Jon Lester, on the other hand, was impressive as he pitched seven scoreless innings to improve to 8-0 all-time against Baltimore. The Red Sox also picked up their eighth straight win against the O's.

Game 2 played out like two completely different games. The first part was dominated by Boston as the Red Sox jumped out to a 9-1 lead through four innings. Boston teed off of Orioles starter Rich Hill who was charged with all nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings. John Smoltz seemed well on his way to getting his first win as a member of the Red Sox until the rain came.

A 71-minute rain delay knocked both starters out of the game and woke up Baltimore's bats. The Orioles scored five runs in the seventh inning and five more in the eighth to come back and win 11-10. It was the largest comeback in team history and marked the biggest deficit ever overcome by a last place team against a first place team.

The Orioles carried the momentum from Tuesday night's game into the early part of Wednesday afternoon as the team knocked around Josh Beckett early, taking five runs off of the Boston ace. The Orioles' early 5-1 lead was powered in part by solo home runs off the bats of Luke Scott and Ty Wigginton. Wigginton's solo shot to lead off the fourth inning was the last hit the Orioles would get. The Red Sox retired 24 straight to end the game while getting their offense back on track late.

Brad Bergesen had kept Boston in check but with a four-run lead headed into the ninth inning, Orioles Manager Dave Trembley elected to go with his bullpen. This move proved to be the team's undoing as Kevin Youkilis hit his second home run of the series, a two-run shot that was part of Boston's four-run ninth that forced extra innings. Jacoby Ellsbury scored the winning run in the 11th to give the Red Sox a bit of redemption for Tuesday night with a 6-5 win and a 2-1 series victory over Baltimore.

The Orioles will look to put the sting of the Boston series behind them by heading out west; however, the last time Baltimore did a west coast swing it did not end well.

The O's are 5-13 this season against teams from the AL West and went 1-5 while on the road against Seattle and Oakland in early June. Baltimore will be visiting the Los Angeles Angels and the Mariners this time around.

The Angels are ahead of the Texas Rangers by a half-game for the division lead after dropping two of three in Texas. Los Angeles went 17-9 in June to go from .500 to nine-games above. The Angels have also had a lot of success against the Orioles in L.A. over the past few years, compiling a 14-5 record at home dating back to August of 2005.

John Lackey and Jeremy Guthrie will go head-to-head in the first game. Lackey has a 6-3 all-time record against Baltimore and seems to be rounding back into form after missing the early part of the season due to injury. In his last outing, Lackey gave up just one run over seven innings. Guthrie will be seeking his third straight victory.

Game 2 will feature the Angels' 30-year-old rookie Matt Palmer who has quietly put together a 7-1 record this season despite a 5.16 ERA. Opposite Palmer will be a much younger rookie in David Hernandez who hopes to pick up his second career victory as he has taken over Koji Uehara's spot in the rotation.

Two more rookies will square off in the series finale, as it will be Sean O'Sullivan against Jason Berken. Berken was knocked around fairly consistently in June as the young Orioles righty gave up at least four runs in all but one of his five starts in the month. Conversely, O'Sullivan is 2-0 on the year and has not given up more than three runs in any of his three career starts.

By CJ Holley  |  July 2, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Orioles , Red Sox  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Talking Behind Their Back, boston red sox, los angeles angels  
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Next: Moment of Levity: The Big Picture

Comments

Thanks for the O's post Bos!

Posted by: lavar609 | July 2, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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