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News » Orioles-Royals Preview 2009-05-17

Orioles-Royals Preview 2009-05-17

Orioles-Royals Preview 2009-05-17
Even Baltimore's lowly pitching staff has managed to shut down struggling Kansas City. The Royals haven't even faced the Orioles' most consistent starter yet.

After faltering at the plate yet again, the stumbling Royals face dependable Orioles rookie Koji Uehara in the finale of a four-game series Sunday.

Baltimore (16-21) ranks near the bottom of the majors with a 5.43 ERA, but managed to beat Kansas City 3-2 on Saturday night after allowing a total of 13 runs in splitting the series' first two contests.

The Royals (19-18) have scored three runs or fewer in 17 of 37 games and are averaging 3.0 in losing seven of their last eight matchups.

"We're all right. We're not panicking," Kansas City first baseman Mike Jacobs told the team's official Web site. "So hopefully nobody else is."

Kansas City struggled Saturday against Rich Hill, who came off the disabled list earlier that day to pick up his first win in more than a year. He has the potential to bolster an Orioles staff that can certainly use some quality starts.

"It's a real shot in the arm for everybody," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

Surprisingly, 34-year-old rookie right-hander Uehara (2-3, 4.01 ERA) has been the most steady member of Baltimore's rotation, allowing three earned runs or fewer in six of his seven starts.

Uehara is coming off one of his best outings of the season, giving up one run and six hits while striking out five in six innings as Baltimore lost 5-3 to the New York Yankees last Sunday. He has not walked a batter in three of his last four starts.

This will be Uehara's first appearance against Kansas City.

The Royals will counter with Luke Hochevar, who was called up from the minors last Sunday and was terrible in his first start of the season, giving up eight runs and seven hits in two innings as Kansas City lost 12-3 to Oakland on Tuesday night.

Hochevar had not given up a run in 21 straight innings for Triple-A Omaha before being called up.

The right-hander started 22 games for the Royals last year, going 6-12 with a 5.51 ERA. He's posted a 6.92 ERA in losing each of his two starts against the Orioles.

With Hochevar giving them little reason to be confident, the Royals desperately need to break out of their slump at the plate.

One of the few bright spots for Kansas City on Saturday was Alberto Callaspo, who hit a two-out double with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to drive in two runs.

The second baseman, in his first season as a full-time starter, is hitting .429 with runners in scoring position and is already two RBIs short of matching his career high of 16, set last season. Callaspo is hitting .339 overall with a career-high 14 doubles and two home runs.

Royals third baseman Mark Teahen should be back in the lineup to help Callaspo after getting a day off. Teahen is batting .295 with four homers and 14 RBIs.

Baltimore did just enough at the plate to win for the seventh time in 12 games following a 1-7 slide.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts went 0 for 4 after going 6 for 10 in his previous three games. He's batting .230 (20 for 87) in 24 road games against Kansas City, but Baltimore has won 20 of those contests.

The Orioles are 23-7 against the Royals since the start of the 2005 season.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 17, 2009

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