Phillies-Orioles Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 08, 2012
The Baltimore Orioles are in a tie for first in the AL East despite losing eight of 11 games. The Philadelphia Phillies are last in the NL East as losers of six straight. It's hard to envision either team getting a well-pitched game from one of the struggling right-handers that will be on the mound Friday night for this series opener at Camden Yards. Baltimore (32-25) fell 7-0 at Boston on Thursday, missing a chance at a three-game sweep. The Orioles have scored more than three runs just three times in their last 11 games. Philadelphia (28-31) is enduring its longest losing streak of the season. The Phillies seemed eager to start a nine-game trip after ending a seven-game homestand with Thursday's 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. "We don't scare (anybody)," manager Charlie Manuel said. It's tough to determine a favorite in this matchup between Philadelphia's Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.27 ERA) and Baltimore's Jake Arrieta (2-7, 5.53). Only one pitcher in the majors has a higher ERA since May 10 than Blanton (8.44) and Arrieta (7.82). Blanton actually has a 10.98 ERA during an 0-3 stretch in his last four starts, yielding 10 homers over 19 2-3 innings. He lasted six-plus innings and allowed five runs in Sunday's 5-1 loss to Miami. "You never want to give up five runs but I felt like it was a huge improvement over the way I threw the last two to three times, even though the results don't look much better," Blanton said. "I felt like it was a lot better." Blanton went 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA against Baltimore from 2005-08 with Oakland. He's 2-3 with a 6.31 ERA in seven interleague starts since joining the Phillies. Arrieta, meanwhile, is 0-5 with a 7.96 ERA in his last six outings to move within one defeat of matching his career-high total from last year. He has failed to get through the fifth inning in each of his last two appearances, lasting 4 2-3 and giving up four runs with two hits and four walks in Sunday's 8-4 loss at Tampa Bay. "I'm not pitching well right now, there's no doubt about that," said Arrieta, who has never faced the Phillies. He'll get a look at several slumping hitters. Carlos Ruiz is 2 for 16 during this losing streak, Shane Victorino is 5 for 21 and Hunter Pence 5 for 23. "I think we're a better team," Victorino said. "We've all got to get a gut check, including myself." Jimmy Rollins fared better as he went 7 for 16 over the four games the Phillies were swept by Los Angeles this week. Ty Wigginton, who has 13 hits in his last 32 at-bats, will return to Camden Yards for the first time since spending 2009-10 with the Orioles. Adam Jones is in a 5-for-26 slump for Baltimore since his career-high 20-game hitting streak ended. It won't help the Orioles that Nick Markakis, who leads all active players with a .353 interleague average, is on the disabled list. Baltimore holds a 24-21 lead in this interleague series since beating Philadelphia in five games in the 1983 World Series.
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