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Orioles Review and Preview: Twins, Indians

After dropping two of three in the Metrodome, the Orioles return home to Camden Yards to take on the Cleveland Indians, a team they somehow have not yet faced this year.

Baltimore survived a nine-game road trip by coming away with a perfectly cromulent 4-5 record against three teams (Rays, White Sox and Twins) that still have very real playoff hopes. The Orioles managed to outscore its opponents 36-34 during the nine-game stretch and three of the team's losses were by one run.

A key component to the quasi-successful road trip was a strong showing by the team's bullpen, which allowed nine runs in 24.1 innings of relief for a 3.33 ERA.

Of course a strong bullpen outing alone doesn't equal wins but rather close losses as evidenced by Monday's series-opening 2-1 loss. Scott Baker outdueled rookie Chris Tillman to pick up the win but the bullpen really picked up Tillman as the young right-hander left the game with the bases loaded yet only two runs ended up on the board on the night.

Brian Matusz exited Game 2 on Tuesday night after five innings with a three-run lead but had to watch as the bullpen turned in its worst relief performance of the trip. Brian Bass allowed all five batters he faced to reach base as he left the game having allowed three runs while recording no outs, turning a 6-3 advantage into a tie ball game. Kam Mickolio later allowed his first earned run of the season as Minnesota's Delmon Young drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth to deliver a 7-6 victory for the Twins.

Jeremy Guthrie looked a bit more like the guy who pitched in 2008 during Wednesday's finale. Guthrie, the team's lone veteran starter, gave up one run over seven innings (and no home runs) to pick up a 5-1 win. The victory was Guthrie's second straight and marked the first time that he won consecutive starts since his first two starts of the season.

The Orioles look to build upon its meager momentum as they face their third straight AL Central opponent and a team they are completely unfamiliar with. How unfamiliar? Well, due to a quirk in the schedule, Baltimore has not faced the Cleveland Indians once yet this season. Perhaps it's not so unusual though, last year the two teams also didn't meet for the first time until August.

The Indians come in to Baltimore having won four of their last five games and combining to score 16 runs with 29 hits in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Those totals also include Cleveland being on the receiving end of Zack Greinke's 15-strikeout performance.

The Orioles will try to take Jobu's proverbial rum as Baltimore plans to trot out all four of its rookie starters for the weekend series that begins tonight.

By CJ Holley  |  August 27, 2009; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  Indians , Orioles , Twins  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Talking Behind Their Back, cleveland indians, minnesota twins  
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