Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Baltimore Orioles are winners of four straight and have retaken the lead in the American League East. The Orioles, who host the Colorado Rockies on Monday in the opener of a three-game interleague series, seemed to turn their biggest weakness into a strength as the pitching staff came through over the last four games.
Baltimore is last in the AL with 37 quality starts but recorded three of those in the last four contests, the lone exception coming when Dylan Bundy did not allow an earned run in five innings on Friday. The Orioles are 36-14 at home after allowing a total of six runs in a three-game sweep of the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians over the weekend, capped by Nolan Reimold’s walk-off home run on Sunday. That Baltimore staff will have to deal with streaking rookie shortstop Trevor Story, who piled up four homers and nine RBIs in a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves over the weekend and has six blasts in the last seven games to increase his National League-leading total to 27. Story is three home runs shy of tying Nomar Garciaparra for the rookie record of 30 homers by a shortstop.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies LH Jorge De La Rosa (6-7, 6.07 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.69)
De La Rosa had a string of five straight quality starts come to an abrupt end when he was crushed in an interleague start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. The Mexico native was ripped for nine runs – seven earned – on 11 hits and a pair of walks in four innings. De La Rosa fared better in his previous start against AL East competition, limiting the New York Yankees to three hits in five scoreless innings on June 14.
Gallardo has gone four consecutive turns without a quality start but at least worked deeper into the game when he served up four runs in seven innings at the Yankees on Wednesday. The fellow Mexican issued 15 walks in 21 innings over those four turns and is allowing opponents a .296 batting average. Gallardo spent his first eight seasons in the NL and never managed to beat Colorado, posting a 0-5 record with a 6.08 ERA in 10 games – nine starts.
1. Orioles C Matt Wieters (foot) missed the last six games and is day-to-day.
2. Colorado’s top OF prospect, 22-year-old David Dahl, is expected to join the team on Monday and make his major league debut in the series.
3. Baltimore 1B Chris Davis is 0-for-18 with eight strikeouts in his last five games.
PREDICTION: Orioles 10, Rockies 8