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News » Angels-Orioles Preview 2009-04-28

Angels-Orioles Preview 2009-04-28

Angels-Orioles Preview 2009-04-28
When Joe Saunders pitches against the Baltimore Orioles, the Los Angeles Angels usually do their best to support him.

Saunders looks to improve to 5-0 in his career against Baltimore when the Angels open a two-game set Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

This is a bit of a homecoming for Saunders (2-1, 3.51 ERA), who grew up 60 miles away from Baltimore in Springfield, Va. Los Angeles (7-11) has won all of Saunders' five starts versus the Orioles by scoring 35 runs in those games.

Saunders has a 4.40 career ERA against Baltimore (9-11). He was in line to improve to 5-0 versus the Orioles on Aug. 4 before the bullpen blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning of a 6-5 victory.

The left-hander has done a good job of keeping two of Baltimore's best hitters - Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis - off base. Roberts is 2-for-13 against Saunders and Markakis is 2-for-15.

Saunders did not receive a decision for the first time this season Wednesday in a 12-10 loss to Detroit. He lasted five innings, surrendering five runs and seven hits.

"When I made a pitch, they found holes, so you have to tip your cap there," Saunders told the Angels' official Web site. "So, from my standpoint, it was a struggle."

Los Angeles is 1-5 on the road as it begins an eight-game trip. The Angels went 6-3 against the Orioles last season, and have won the season series each of the last five years.

Center fielder Torii Hunter batted .448 (13-for-29) with three homers and 13 RBIs in 2008 versus Baltimore. Hunter has a team-high seven homers and 14 RBIs this year for the Angels.

Their slow start has been caused mainly by a bullpen that has lost six games and ranks last in the majors with a 7.24 ERA. Scot Shields (10.80), Jason Bulger (12.86) and Brian Fuentes (6.00) have all struggled.

"The bullpen has been unsettled probably since the first week of the season," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' site. "We have some guys not performing the way we would hope, and we have some guys injured."

Baltimore lost three out of four to Texas after a 6-4 defeat Monday. The Orioles have not had a starter last past the fifth inning in their last three games, forcing the bullpen to work 13 2-3 innings in that span.

Markakis went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He's hitting .389 (21-for-54) with 14 RBIs during his run.

The Orioles will give Adam Eaton (1-2, 7.04) his fourth start of the season. After ugly losses in his first two, Eaton may have saved his spot in the rotation Wednesday when he gave up two runs over 7 1-3 innings and struck out nine in a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

"He changed location, he changed speeds and he used both sides of the plate," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "That's what he did to everybody. He stayed away from the middle of the plate for the most part. And when he did, they didn't get it."

Eaton is 2-2 with a 6.16 ERA in six career outings versus the Angels.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 28, 2009

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