O's vs. Rangers - a preview

The Orioles (13-27) begin a two-game series and five-game road trip at Texas (22-18) tonight.

The Rangers won the last two games vs. Los Angeles after losing three in a row. They are in first in the AL West, with a two-game lead over Oakland.

The Rangers, who are 15-7 in home games, have won eight of their last 12 and 14 of 21 games. They were 11-12 in April and are 11-6 in May.

They have a decent offense that has produced much better at home.

Rangers offense, 2010 season:
Home: .286 avg, 5.5 runs per game, 27 HR in 22 games.
Road: .236 avg, 3.8 runs per game, 9 HR in 18 games.

The Rangers are 7-5-1 in series but have won five of their last eight.

Texas has not fared well, with a 2-10 record vs. the AL East:
Vs. Boston 1-2
Vs. NYY 0-3
Vs. Toronto 1-5

Texas pitching ranks 8th in the AL with an ERA of 4.08 and the Orioles are 9th at 4.41. But over the last five games, the Rangers team ERA is 7.93.

The Rangers staff has allowed the third most walks in the league and the most homers with 48.

Vladimir Guerrero is having a good year, batting .348-8-32. He is batting .406 at home. Over his last ten games vs. Baltimore pitching, he is hitting .368-6-19. But he is 1 for 14 in his career vs. tonight's starter, Jeremy Guthrie.

AL leaders, home batting avg:
.406 - Vladimir Guerrero, Tex
.380 - Shin-Soo Choo, Clev
.373 - Ty Wigginton, O's & Evan Longoria, TB

The Orioles went 5-5 vs. Texas last year, including a mark of 2-1 on the road.

Tonight's pitchers are Jeremy Guthrie (2-4, 4.13) vs. Rich Harden (2-1, 4.93).

Harden is coming off his worst start where he allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 Friday vs. Toronto to raise his ERA from 3.53 to 4.93.

Right-handed batters hit just .203 vs. him while lefties hit .256. But he has issued 31 walks in 38 1/3 to lead the AL.

Guthrie, coming off an outing where he beat Cleveland allowing just two hits over eight innings, is 2-0, 2.45 over his last two starts.

Guthrie, who has six quality starts in eight outings, is 3-0, 3.48 in seven career outings vs. the Rangers.

The O's offense is still struggling and has produced just 10 runs, going 3 for 25 with runners in scoring position over the last four games. On the other hand, O's starting pitching has worked to an ERA of 2.94 over the last seven games.

The O's are 5-15 on the road, 4-9 in the first game of a series, 10-15 when they hit a homer and 4-5 vs. the AL Central this season.

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