Weekend preview: Angels at Orioles

Game Preview
LA Angels (68-44) at Orioles (47-67)

With the Orioles struggling and the Angels surging, this may not be the best time for the Orioles to challenge the two-time defending AL West champs.

But, ready or not, the clubs begin a four-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Camden Yards.

Pitching Probables for the LAA Series:
Fri, 7:05p - Chris Tillman (0-0, 5.19) v. Jered Weaver (12-3, 3.73)
Sat, 7:05p - Brian Matusz (1-1, 7.04) v. John Lackey (5-5, 3.88)
Sun 1:35p - Jeremy Guthrie (7-12, 5.43) v. Sean O'Sullivan (3-1, 4.24)
Mon, 7:05p - David Hernandez (4-4, 3.81) v. Ervin Santana (5-6, 6.38)

Oakland beat the O's 6-3 Wednesday to take two of three in that series that started this seven-game homestand.

With their offense slumping and their young starting rotation dealing with growing pains, the Orioles have now lost four of five, six of eight, ten of 13 and 17 of their last 23 games.

The Orioles record is 15-30 over the last 45 games.

The O's offense produced just seven runs in the Oakland series and has produced just 12 runs over the last five games and 24 over the last eight.

The O's have struggled to produce the clutch hit recently and are hitting just .163 as a team (8 for 49) with runners in scoring position over the last five games.

Baltimore has scored three runs or less in five straight games, seven of the last eight and in 14 of 26 games in the second half.

The Orioles are 1-13 in those games.

The Orioles are 7-19 since the All-Star game.

Nick Markakis is 10 for 25 during his six-game batting streak. He has now reached base in 33 straight games, one off his career high. It's the longest active streak in the Majors. The record for this year is 43 consecutive games set by Ichiro and Ryan Zimmerman.

Brian Roberts leads the American League with 40 doubles. He has now hit that many for three straight years and for five of the last six seasons. He has 12 doubles over his last 25 games.

The Angels come to town as a team on a roll. They lead the AL West by 4 ½ games over Texas and Wednesday completed a three-game home sweep of Tampa, scoring 24 runs in that series.

The Angels have produced ten hits or more 12 times in the last 15 games and 17 times in 22 contests. They lead the Majors in team batting average (.289) and average with runners in scoring position and are second in runs scored.

The Angels have won three in a row and 10 of the last 14. They are 19-7 since the All-Star break and now a season-best, 24 games over .500.

Los Angeles had a record of 29-29 on June 11th, but is 39-15 since. They own the best road record in the AL at 32-22, winning 17 of their last 22 on the road.

Tonight they begin a ten-game road trip that will also take the club to Cleveland and Toronto.

The Angels are looking for their 5th AL West title in the last six seasons.

The Orioles are just 1-5 vs. LA on the year and have been out-scored 39-25 in the season series. The Angels swept a two-game series at Camden Yards in late April by 7-5 and 3-2 scores.

The Angels are batting .314 vs. O's pitching this year with Maicer Izturis at 11 for 22 and Bobby Abreu is 8 for 22 with two homers and 8 RBI.

O's hitters, 2009 vs. LAA:
Andino: 2-10/0/1
Huff: 6-25/1/4
Izturis: 2-5/0/0
Jones: 10-24/1/3
Markakis: 6-24/0/4
Moeller: 2-4/0/0 with a 2B & 3B
Mora: 5-18/0/2
Pie: 0-3/0/0
Reimold: 1-13/0/0
Roberts: 7-26/1/4
Scott: 4-20/1/3
Wieters: 5-9/1/2
Wigginton: 2-15/0/1

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