Orioles in search of wins vs. Indians after bad trip
The Baltimore Orioles stumbled home after a disappointing road trip and have another difficult four-game series against the Cleveland Indians beginning Friday at Camden Yards.
Baltimore lost six straight games against the red-hot Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Indians, who have won six of eight, split a two-game series with the Minnesota Twins in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and have been carried by their pitching.
The Orioles have struggled to get key hits, and when they finally manage to score runs, the bullpen falters. Even though it's only April, the players know they need to start winning some games, beginning this weekend against Cleveland.
"It's so early, obviously you don't want to bury yourself right out of the gates," first baseman Chris Davis said. "We know it's a long season, this division is going to be a grind day in and day out and it's going to go down to the wire like it does every year.
"The biggest thing for us to remember is we are still a good team, we still have the ability to be a good team and we just have to right the ship right now."
Dylan Bundy (0-2, 1.40 ERA) will take the mound in the opener for Baltimore. He is winless in four starts but has been the Orioles' most consistent starter. Bundy has allowed only four earned runs in 25 2/3 innings and has 31 strikeouts during that stretch.
In his last outing, Bundy allowed three runs (one earned) and seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings in brutally cold conditions in Boston. Bundy is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in three games (two starts) against Cleveland.
"Right now, we're not getting team wins either, so just go out there every five days and try and give my team the chance to win the best I can," Bundy said.
Struggling Chris Tillman (0-3, 11.91) will start Saturday and Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) will pitch the following day. Showalter has not named a starter for Monday's game.
The Indians will counter with Trevor Bauer (1-1, 2.25) in the series opener. In his last outing against the Tigers, he allowed two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven solid innings April 12 for his first win of the year.
"I feel my stuff is good, probably better than it's ever been, this year," said Bauer, who is 1-3 with a 5.86 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles. "So if I can just throw it in the zone more often, work ahead of guys, that's going to play more in my favor even it the ball gets put in play."
Mike Clevinger (1-0, 2.70) will start Saturday, Corey Kluber (2-1, 1.52) on Sunday and Carlos Carrasco on Monday.
Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli, who is dealing with a knee injury, had a setback in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Columbus. He had to be carted off the field after injuring a knee while chasing down a foul ball.
Indians manager Terry Francona is concerned about Napoli ever fully recovering from the injury.
"He suffered a significant knee injury ... Maybe this now starts him on a second journey in his career," Francona said. "He was an impact player. My guess is he'll impact the game doing something else now."
Updated April 19, 2018