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News » Rangers-Orioles Preview 2009-04-24

Rangers-Orioles Preview 2009-04-24

Rangers-Orioles Preview 2009-04-24
The Baltimore Orioles have allowed the most runs in the major leagues and the Texas Rangers aren't far behind. There's a simple explanation for why those numbers are so ugly - a three-game series against each other.

The Orioles and Rangers combined for 56 runs last week in Texas, and the scoreboard operator figures to be busy again starting Friday night at Camden Yards as the two pitching-starved clubs open a four-game set.

Baltimore (8-8) won the first two games of its road series versus the Rangers, but the 31 runs scored in those victories paled in comparison to the offensive explosion in the finale. Ian Kinsler went 6-for-6 and hit for the cycle, Marlon Byrd had five hits and Nelson Cruz drove in six as the Rangers throttled the Orioles 19-6, a major-league high for runs this season.

"I love it," Byrd told Texas' official Web site. "Five hits and I'm second on the team in hits. That tells you something is going right."

Baltimore followed that loss with four more during a weekend sweep in Boston, but bounced back at home against the Chicago White Sox.

After splitting the first two games, the Orioles got a standout performance Thursday as Adam Eaton struck out nine over 7 1-3 innings - two-thirds fewer than he'd logged in his first two starts - in Baltimore's 6-2 victory.

"Obviously, with the combined eight innings, that leaves a huge burden on our bullpen, and that's not something I want to do," Eaton said.

Eaton's effort helped lower the Orioles' ERA to 5.98, but that could rise against a Texas offense that's averaged 6.3 runs and leads the majors with 29 home runs.

The Rangers' lineup, though, hasn't been nearly as productive since the conclusion of the series with Baltimore. Texas (6-9) has averaged 3.8 runs while losing four of its past six games, and 12 of its 22 runs in that stretch have scored via home run.

Josh Hamilton and Chris Davis went deep Thursday in Toronto, but the Rangers got no other production in a 5-2 loss, their ninth in 12 games since a three-game sweep of Cleveland to start the season.

The pitching matchup Friday will be a rematch of the series opener in Arlington on April 13, which Baltimore won 10-9. Koji Uehara (2-1, 5.29 ERA) was hit hard in his second game as an Oriole, giving up seven runs in five innings but earned his second victory.

Uehara pitched considerably better Sunday at Boston, allowing two runs and five hits over seven while striking out five. Still, he took a 2-1 loss.

"I thought Koji elevated his fastball. He pitched in. His offspeed pitches were very good. His tempo was quick, and he gave us a chance to win," manager Dave Trembley told the Orioles' official Web site. "That's all you can ask. He pitched a very, very, very good game. We'll win a lot of games if he pitches like that."

He'll be opposed again by Vicente Padilla (1-1, 9.64), who was hammered for seven runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings in the loss to the Orioles, and is a major culprit for the team's 6.21 ERA. Padilla didn't pick up a decision in the Rangers' 6-5 win over Kansas City on Sunday, giving up five runs in five innings.

Padilla is 0-4 with a 16.20 ERA in four starts against Baltimore since 2007, and three of the Orioles' offensive leaders have hurt him the most. Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis are a combined 24-for-36 (.667) with 15 RBIs in their careers versus Padilla.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 24, 2009

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