Tonight’s pitchers: Berken vs. Niemann

RHP Jason Berken (4-11, 6.02) tonight will make his 21st start of the year, his 12th at home and the 2nd of his career vs. Tampa.

Over his last four starts, Berken is 2-0, 3.38 which has lowered his ERA for the year from 6.72 to 6.02.

Berken has struggled in the first inning this year, giving up 21 of his 66 runs and a batting average of .352 in the first frame.

Berken, 2009 season:
Home: 2-6, 4.95, 11 starts
Road: 2-5, 7.35, 9 starts

The Orioles are 5-15 when Berken starts, losing the past two games. Berken did not get a decision last Wednesday at Boston, when he gave up 3ER over 5 1/3.

He took the loss August 18th at Tampa in his only previous appearance vs. the Rays. In 5 2/3, he allowed 11 hits and five runs. He gave up three homers in that contest.

Jeff Niemann (12-5, 3.57) tonight makes his 27th start of this season, his 18th on the road and the 5th of his career vs. the Orioles.

Niemann has not taken a loss since July 26th at Toronto. In his last three starts, without a decision, he has pitched to an ERA of 1.66.

Over his last eight starts, he is 3-0, 3.11.

Niemann, who leads the Rays in wins and ERA, has pitched two complete-game shutouts on the year. He pitched a two-hitter on June 3rd vs. Kansas City and a seven-hitter July 10th vs. Oakland.

Four times over his last seven starts he has left with a lead, but did not get a win.

Niemann, 2009 season:
1st half: 8-4, 3.73 in 16 starts
2nd half: 4-1, 3.36 in 10 starts

The Rays are 16-10 when Niemann starts. In his 17 road starts, he is 7-3, 4.24.

Niemann vs. Baltimore:
2009: 2-1, 4.58, three starts
Career: 4-1, 4.15, five games, four starts (26IP, 31H, 10B, 17k)

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