Weekend preview: Texas at Orioles

Game Preview
Texas (75-58) at Orioles (54-80)

After splitting four games vs. Cleveland and losing three straight vs. New York, the final series of the O's ten-game homestand begins tonight. The O's host Texas at 7:05 pm.

Pitching Matchups for the Series:
Fri 7:05p - Chris Tillman (1-2, 4.24) v. Scott Feldman (14-4, 3.72).
Sat 4:05p - Brian Matusz (3-2, 5.28) v. Kevin Millwood (10-8, 3.61).
Sun 1:35p - Jeremy Guthrie (9-13, 5.17) v. Derek Holland (7-9, 5.62).

The Orioles' pitching needs to regroup after the Yankees series. The O's gave up 24 runs, 39 hits and 7 homers in that series.

The O's bullpen allowed 16ER in 10 2/3 innings vs. New York.

The Birds starting pitching continues to be pretty solid. Over the last eight games, O's starters have an ERA of 2.91 and over the last 13 games, O's starters have worked to an ERA of 3.19.

The O's are 18-25 this year in the first game of a series and are 10-22 vs. AL West teams.

During a seven-game batting streak, Felix Pie is 11 for 27 with four homers and 7 RBI. Over his last 18 games, Pie is batting .382-6-13.

Some O's hitters have struggled lately. Brian Roberts has 5 hits over his last 35 at bats, Cesar Izturis is hitting .190 over his past 15 games, Luke Scott is two for 15 at bat and Matt Wieters is 1 for 11 over the last three games.

The O's are 2-5 on this homestand and 32-36 at home on the season.

The Rangers, who were idle on Thursday, begin play tonight three games behind Boston in the wild-card race and 3 ½ games back of the Angels for the AL West lead.

The Rangers have won three in a row, seven of 11, 13 of the last 22 and are 27-17 over their past 44 games.

Texas is a season-high 17 games over .500 and is 12-5-1 over its last 18 series. The Rangers are 27-19 in the second half.

But Texas will play at least the next two weeks without Michael Young, out with a hamstring injury. Plus, Josh Hamilton left Wednesday's game with a pinched nerve in his back and is listed as day to day.

The Rangers are second in the Majors with 199 homers. They have hit 77 over the last 51 games and Nelson Cruz leads the club with 30.

The Orioles, who have lost the season series four straight years to Texas, are 3-4 vs. the Rangers this year. The clubs met seven times in April. The Birds are 1-3 at home vs. Texas. Five of the seven games between the teams on the year have been decided by two runs or less.

O's hitters, 2009 vs. Texas:
Andino: 3-5/0/1
Aubrey: 0-0
Fiorentino: 0-0
Izturis: 4-23/0/1
Jones: 12-32/3/12
Markakis: 9-27/0/5
Moeller: 2-7/1/1
Mora: 0-0
Pie: 4-16/1/1
Roberts: 14-31/2/5
Scott: 7-25/1/4
Wieters: 0-0
Wigginton: 4-28/1/4

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