The man with the lowest earned run average in the starting rotation will take the hill in the series opener with aspirations of picking up his fifth straight victory. In his last outing, Loe allowed singles to three of the first four Red Sox batters including a run-scoring single to Kevin Youkilis. But the big righty settled down, and in his six innings of work he managed to allow just three more harmless hits and held the Red Sox to that lone first inning run in a 2-1 victory. In winning, Loe also achieved his fourth quality start in a row.
Last week, Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed four hits in eight innings of work against a tough Angels lineup. Unfortunately for him, three of those hits were grouped together in a rough fourth inning that was capped off by a two-run homer. But aside from that ugly frame, it was another great outing for Guthrie and the ninth time in his last 10 starts he's pitched past the seventh inning. He also posted a 2.63 ERA in the month of June, which was good for second in the American League.
Saturday, 7:35 PM: Erik Bedard (6-4, 3.67) vs. Brandon McCarthy (4-5, 6.17)
Coming into last Monday's game in Boston, the Red Sox had scored just seven total runs through the first three games of their four game set against the Rangers. But in his first start since blister issues landed him on the disabled list, McCarthy just wasn't strong enough to keep Boston at bay. He was also on a strict pitch count, and after just 3 2/3 innings and 81 pitches - he was gone. McCarthy's pitch count should be less strict this time through the rotation as he faces a team he's made only two relief appearances against in his career.
Erik Bedard is coming off an outstanding June in which he posted a 2.61 earned run average. But recently, the American League leader in strikeouts has had to fight his way through a strained hamstring and is suffering from some lowered velocity which he attributes to a "dead arm" phase. The southpaw's most recent start was a no decision against the White Sox where he allowed three homeruns and failed to make it through the sixth inning for only the fifth time out of 18 starts this year.
Sunday, 2:05 PM: Daniel Cabrera (6-9, 5.15) vs. Kevin Millwood (5-7, 6.54)
Kevin Millwood's best start of the 2007 campaign occurred on the 4th of July, when he held the Angels to two runs over eight innings. Over his last three games, he's gone 2-1 with a much more honorable looking 3.60 ERA. He's thrown two complete games against the Orioles in his career, and has a 5-2 record and a 4.13 ERA in eight games against Baltimore.
Daniel Cabrera's last bunch of starts have been something the Orioles would like to forget about. In his last five games, the right-hander has gone 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA, and finished up his last start as the Major League leader in walks with 56. When he's on, he's definitely on, but Cabrera hasn't been able to fully get over his control problems on the mound. Last year alone, he led the league in both walks and wild pitches. A few more outings like his most recent one, where Cabrera threw 111 pitches through six innings and only 66 of for strikes, an d this talented pitcher may find himself banished to the Baltimore bullpen.