A noteworthy afternoon

One night after Jason Hammel tried to make amends for tying his career high for most runs allowed in a start, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will attempt to do the same.

Hammel limited the Mariners to one run heading into the seventh inning last night before being charged with four in 6 2/3.

Chen gave up six runs to the Indians in 6 1/3 innings after allowing two earned runs or fewer in three of his previous four starts and four of six. Tonight marks his first appearance against the Mariners.

The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in seven of Chen's last eight starts. They're facing Felix Hernandez tonight.

Hernandez has allowed two runs in his last three starts covering 23 innings, with three walks and 30 strikeouts. He's 5-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 career starts against the Orioles.

Jim Thome is 8-for-16 with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs against Hernandez. Adam Jones is 6-for-19. Brian Roberts, who missed last night's game with a sore groin, is 12-for-33 (.364) with five doubles.

Here's a little something from the Orioles' PR department:

In the first 50 games with Nick Markakis batting after him, J.J. Hardy was hitting .260 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 24 RBI. In 29 games since Markakis went on the disabled list, Hardy is batting .190 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and eight RBIs.

The Orioles are 29-21 with Markakis batting third and 13-16 with anyone else in that slot.

The Orioles could use Markakis tonight. He's 13-for-28 (.464) lifetime against King Felix.

The Orioles are over .500 against the American League East (17-15), AL Central (10-6) and National League (11-7) but only 4-9 against the AL West.

Since May 28, the Orioles are 5-11 in their last 16 road games and are batting .202/.272/.285 with eight home runs. They've scored 40 runs (2.5 per game). The pitching staff has compiled a 4.37 ERA.

Through May 27, the Orioles were 15-6 on the road and batting .243/.301/.429 with 33 home runs. They scored 99 runs (4.7 per game). The pitching staff compiled a 3.29 ERA.

See the difference?

Left-hander J.C. Romero is starting tonight for Triple-A Norfolk. Yes, the same J.C. Romero who's totaled 11 1/3 innings in 15 relief appearances this season.

I don't think he's stretched out.

Romero will be Norfolk's 20th different starter in 87 games, three shy of the franchise record of 23 set in 2001.

The Tides list Jason Berken, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz and Zach Britton as their starters over the next four games. Matusz will be the 21st different starter.

Pat Neshek has posted 11 straight scoreless appearances, with five hits allowed over 12 2/3 innings, 18 strikeouts and six saves. He's held opponents to a .119 average in that span (5-for-42) and stranded all seven inherited runners.

Over his last seven outings, former starter Brad Bergesen has gone 2-0 with one save and a 1.04 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.

LJ Hoes has hit safely in 13 straight games, and he's collected multiple hits in six of them. Hoes, 22, has hit .447 (21-for-47) during the streak, with five RBIs and 11 runs scored, to increase his average from .177 to .294.

With a win tonight, Norfolk manager Ron Johnson would improve his career record to 1305-1305. It will have to happen on a bullpen night. And he'll be hitting the bullpen hard with a lefty specialist serving as his starter.

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