Orioles in series trouble

NEW YORK - The Orioles have no shot at winning the current three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Best they can do today is avoid the sweep, just as they did in Boston.

It's still better than being reduced to spoiler status, but hardly what they had in mind after the last homestand.

The Orioles have lost seven of their last 12 series, leaving them 24-16-4 this season. They've also lost all three series in the Bronx after winning all three last year. They've gone from being 6-3 here to 2-6.

A year really does make a difference.

This team just can't do everything right at the same time. They get a quality start yesterday from Scott Feldman - and not just by definition - and the offense is rendered impotent against Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova. When the offense perks up, the rotation breaks down.

The defense has been spectacular all season, but Manny Machado committed a throwing error yesterday and a fly ball fell in left-center field after an apparent miscommunication between Nate McLouth and Adam Jones. Feldman was forced to throw more pitches, perhaps costing him a chance at a complete game.

Wei-Yin Chen will try to play stopper today. He's 0-2 lifetime at Yankee Stadium, but both outings resulted in quality starts. He's allowed six runs in 12 2/3 innings.

Matt Wieters singled yesterday, but he's got one hit in his last 22 at-bats. His average is down to .227 with a .283 on-base percentage. He's a rock behind the plate, but those numbers are hugely disappointing.

Nick Markakis has one home run since June 24. One. He's got three extra-base hits since July 19, and two of them came on Aug. 25.

What happened?

Nate McLouth is in a 1-for-16 slump. Does he get the start in left field today against Yankees southpaw Andy Pettitte?

Steve Pearce was the fourth outfielder, but he's on the disabled list. Michael Morse could start in left field, with Danny Valencia serving as the designated hitter.

The Orioles are expected to call up at least one player today from Triple-A Norfolk. It could be Steve Clevenger, the Mount St. Joseph grad. The Orioles always bring up an extra catcher.

It won't be left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, since he pitched last night, but he tossed six scoreless innings. He's allowed one run or fewer in five of his last six starts.

I'm now officially intrigued. Get him up here and let's see what he does against major league hitters.

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