Nate McLouth admits that in his start against the Orioles about a week and a half ago, Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova dominated the Birds.
He threw a 104-pitch, complete-game, three-hit shutout as the Yankees won 2-0. In the start before that against the Orioles on July 5, Nova pitched a complete-game three-hitter in a 3-2 win.
The 26-year-old Nova has pitched back-to-back complete games against the Orioles with two walks and 16 strikeouts. The O's hit just .105 in those games.
To say the least, they need to do better against Nova tonight at 7:05 p.m.
"His fastball is anything but straight and he's got a great curveball, probably the best in the league," McLouth said. "He's pitched real well against us, even the game here when he pitched in relief.
"Particularly that last game, he was just phenomenal. We hardly hit any balls hard off him. He completely dominated us. Hopefully we turn that around tonight."
McLouth, batting sixth in left field tonight, is 2-for-11 in his career off Nova, who is 5-2 with a 4.33 ERA in 11 career games against Baltimore.
The Orioles have now won four of five and six of nine. Are they in the beginning stages of a good season-ending run that could propel them to the playoffs?
"Hopefully. We are running out of time to get on a roll, but we are still in a good position. We need it these last three weeks to finish where we want to be," McLouth said.
After Sunday's game, where the Orioles went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, Chris Davis said, "Knowing we have so much on the line and our time is running thin, we just kind of put a little too much pressure on ourselves."
The Orioles are now 5-for-45 (.111) with runners in scoring position on this homestand and are batting .179 with RISP over the past 16 games.
McLouth agrees with what Davis said.
"Yeah, definitely. Especially if you are going through a stretch where you are not scoring a ton of runs. Sometimes you want to get the run in so badly, you don't. Simply because you want to so badly. But if you look at the numbers over the course of the season, we've done pretty good, just not lately," he said.
Tonight, the O's try to snap a streak where they have scored four runs or less for seven consecutive games. They'll try to do it against a pitcher they haven't hit well this year in this important second game of a four-game series.