If someone told you at the start of this road trip that the Orioles would split their 10 games in Toronto, Chicago and Anaheim, I’m guessing that most of you would have taken it.
Well, 5-5 is the worst that the Orioles can do with three games remaining against the Angels, and they’re not going to be satisfied with .500.
The Orioles have played two road series and won both of them, taking two of three games from the Blue Jays and three of four from the White Sox. They didn’t win their second road series last year until their fourth attempt, taking three of four in Chicago from April 29-May 2 after sweeping the Rays at Tropicana Field to start the season.
That’s not a huge difference, but it’s progress. And consider that the Orioles won only five road series last year. They’ve already got two in the books.
“Well, I look at it this way: We haven’t won as many as we did last year yet,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I wasn’t even aware of that, but I do know a common denominator of teams that are competitive is they play well on the road. And so far, so good.”
In other words, it’s been nice, but we’ve got a long way to go. And Showalter isn’t going to offer pay raises or throw a parade downtown when the Orioles get back home.
The Orioles won their third road series last season on May 13-15, again at Tropicana Field, but their fourth conquest didn’t come until Aug. 22-25 when they swept the Twins. They had some painfully long losing streaks along the way.
The last time the Orioles swept the Angels in a three-game series in Anaheim was August 2010. The Angels took all three games last year.
Kevin Gregg made five appearances against the Angels last season and allowed 11 runs (five earned) in four innings. Adam Jones hit .391 with three home runs and eight RBIs in six games, and J.J. Hardy drove in seven runs in nine games.
Brian Matusz opens the series tonight, and he’s still looking for his second win since 2010. He’s riding an 11-game losing streak, and he’d dearly love to jump off it.
Matusz has made three career starts against the Angels, going 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. He’s allowed 27 hits, walked four and struck out 12, and the Angels are batting .386 against him.
Vernon Wells is 5-for-6 with three doubles, a home run and three RBIs against Matusz.