(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles look to turn things around at Camden
Yards on Friday, as they host the Tampa Bay Rays for the opener of a three-
Baltimore was idle on Thursday after suffering a two-game home sweep at the
hands of the Padres, its first series sweep this season. The Orioles fell to
9-8 at home, compared to 14-9 in road games.
On Tuesday, O's All-Star closer Jim Johnson blew his first regular-season save
opportunity in 36 attempts as San Diego rallied to score two runs in the ninth
inning to win, 3-2. Baltimore's offense managed only five hits for the game,
which left the door open for the Padres to hang around and make their move in
The next day, San Diego pounded out 17 hits en route to an 8-4 victory.
Orioles starter Freddy Garcia lasted only 3 2/3 innings after giving up four
runs and throwing 75 pitches. The bullpen was not able to stop the bleeding.
"[Garcia was] not quite as crisp. He wasn't the only one," Orioles manager
Buck Showalter said. "We just didn't pitch well (Wednesday). It wasn't just
Freddy. They hit a lot of balls hard, too. They came in here and swung the
bats well. We've got to pitch better. It was certainly a hiccup pitching-wise
Tampa Bay is coming off back-to-back losses against the Red Sox, which
followed up a six-game winning streak. Starter Alex Cobb allowed only one run
in 6 1/3 innings on Thursday, but closer Fernando Rodney blew the save as he
surrendered a bases-clearing double to Will Middlebrooks in the ninth inning
and the Rays lost, 4-3. Rodney paid the price for walking four batters.
"Twice during this homestand (Rodney has) been one pitch away from really
being pretty darn good," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's the incredible
nature of our game, and that's part of the beauty of the game. But we'll come
back, we'll play tomorrow, we'll file this away, we'll try to continue to get
better and I think we will."
Jeremy Hellickson takes the pill for Tampa Bay and will try to end a
disturbing trend that has seen him waste leads in four of his last five
starts. Against San Diego on Saturday, Hellickson spoiled a four-run lead when
he served up a seventh-inning grand slam, prompting a stern warning from
normally reserved Maddon in his post-game remarks. The Rays went on to win
that game on Evan Longoria's walk-off home run.
"You can't go to the dance playing like that," Maddon said. "You get leads,
you've got to put the other team away."
For Baltimore, Opening Day starter Jason Hammel will look to put a tough start
to the season in his rearview mirror. Hammel gave up six earned runs in only
four innings of work against Minnesota last Friday. Despite a 5-1 record, his
ERA sits at 4.93 through eight starts.
"It's been a grind from the get-go, honestly. Really not much to say about
myself," Hammel said. "Obviously it's frustrating because I haven't been the
Jason Hammel that I know that I can be.
These teams met up for a pair of series in April, and Baltimore won two out of
three both times.
The Sports Network