A win tonight in Houston would put the Orioles nine games over .500 for the first time this season. It also would improve their series record to 13-5-2.
Once again, they will be facing an Astros pitcher who is new to them - left-hander Dallas Keuchel, 25, who’s making his sixth start among 12 appearances.
Keuchel is 2-2 with a 5.10 ERA in 47 2/3 innings, with 59 hits, 17 walks and 30 strikeouts. He has a 5.17 ERA as a starter and a 4.96 ERA as a reliever.
Keuchel hasn’t allowed an earned run in the first inning. He’s given up nine in the second.
The Orioles are batting .251 against left-handers, which ranks 15th in the majors, compared to .283 vs. right-handers, which ranks third. They’re 8-7 vs. left-handed starters.
Freddy Garcia has never beaten the Astros, Diamondbacks, Marlins or Phillies. He’s only faced Houston once, allowing three runs and seven hits in eight innings.
Garcia is coming off eight scoreless innings against the Nationals.
Carlos Pena is 5-for-43 with a home run and 13 strikeouts against Garcia.
The Orioles are 18-12 on the road and 15-13 at home.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk is listing Zach Britton, Tsuyoshi Wada and Josh Stinson as its next three starters, but Saturday’s starter is unknown. Jair Jurrjens is expected to be skipped because of a sore thumb.
Norfolk’s starters have gone 1-6 with an 8.55 ERA over the last nine games.
The Tides’ PR staff came up with this gem: The bullpen trio Jon Rauch (6-foot-11), Mark Hendrickson (6-9) and Adam Russell (6-8) is a combined 20 feet, 4 inches. That’s the same height for the starting frontcourt for the San Antonio Spurs and one inch taller than the starting frontcourt for the Miami Heat
The Casey Cares Foundation announced that its 4th Annual Casey Cares 5K will take place on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 8 a.m., at Camden Yards in partnership with OriolesREACH. Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina, will serve as Race Ambassadors. Proceeds of the event benefit the Casey Cares Foundation, which provides uplifting and ongoing programs with a special touch to critically ill children and their families.
The 3.1 mile run/walk begins and ends at Camden Yards and includes refreshments and a “Home Plate Finish” photo. Additionally, the first 650 registrants will receive an Under Armour T-shirt, and the first 300 registrants receive a complimentary ticket to that evening’s Orioles home game. Race winners in each age group will be announced in a pregame ceremony at the game.
Event sponsors include MASN, WBAL-AM, 93.1 WPOC-FM, Baltimore Sun Media Group and Under Armour.
Registration for the race is open now through Aug. 3. Entry fees are $30 per person through June 7, $35 per person June 8-Aug. 2, and $40 on race day. To register, visit www.caseycares5k.org.