Battle of Birds

A loss in the second month of the season is rarely devastating. The Baltimore Orioles may be thinking otherwise.

The Orioles try to rebound from their most disappointing defeat of the season Monday night when they begin a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Oddsmakers have made Baltimore -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9.5ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Baltimore -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Orioles (18-20) received a brilliant performance from starter Jeremy Guthrie on Sunday at Boston and appeared on their way to an easy victory and a series win against the AL East-leading Red Sox. That was before Baltimore's bullpen suffered a major meltdown.

Guthrie departed in the ninth with one out and a 5-0 lead after catcher Ramon Hernandez dropped a routine popup. Danys Baez allowed two straight hits and closer Chris Ray walked two before a two-run double drew the Red Sox within 5-4.

After an intentional walk and a forceout at the plate, Julio Lugo hit a bouncer to first baseman Kevin Millar that should've been the final out. Ray, however, dropped Millar's throw as he raced to cover the base, allowing the tying and winning runs to score.

"Well, this was only his second start,'' Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He wanted to stay in, but that was definitely my decision. My decision. We didn't make a couple of plays that we should have. Game should have been over.''

The loss was the second straight for the Orioles following a four-game win streak. They will be happy to get to Toronto after losing to the Red Sox for the 19th time in 23 meetings.

"That's a game we should have won, period,'' Millar said. "That game was in our hands. I really feel terrible for Guthrie."

Baltimore swept a three-game series from the Blue Jays at Camden Yards April 20-22, and has won five of the last six meetings overall.

The Orioles are 11-6 against AL East opponents after going 31-44 in 2006.

Erik Bedard (3-2, 4.79 ERA) has been very sharp in his last two starts, though he has no decisions to show for it. The Baltimore ace allowed three hits over seven innings with 10 strikeouts on Wednesday in the Orioles' 1-0, 10-inning victory over Tampa Bay. Bedard, among the AL leaders with 56 strikeouts, has pitched at least six innings in each of his past three outings.

The left-hander has struggled on the road, going 2-1 with a 6.56 ERA in four starts. Bedard is 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 10 career starts against the Blue Jays.

Toronto (15-22) failed in a bid to sweep a three-game series from Tampa Bay on Sunday, falling 2-1.

It was the 10th loss in 12 games for Toronto, which has been hit hard by injuries. Starters Roy Halladay, Gustavo Chacin and Victor Zambrano, closer B.J. Ryan, catcher Gregg Zaun and outfielder Reed Johnson are all on the disabled list.

Third baseman Troy Glaus missed his second straight game with an injured left foot and his status for this game is uncertain.

Manager John Gibbons remains hopeful that Glaus can avoid his second trip to the DL this season.

"We'll wait a couple days," he said. "Hopefully, we won't have to put him on the DL, because he's making definite progress."

Despite Sunday's loss, the Blue Jays had to be happy with the performance of converted reliever Shaun Marcum, who pitched six no-hit innings in his first start of the season and left with the game scoreless.

With Halladay, Chacin and Zambrano all on the DL, there is added pressure on Tomo Ohka (2-4, 5.53) to pitch well, something he has been unable to do lately. In his last two starts, the right-hander has been reached for nine earned runs and 16 hits in 12 innings with six walks and three strikeouts.

Ohka lost a rare matchup of Japanese pitchers Wednesday when he allowed three runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 9-3 loss to Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox.

Ohka is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in three career games against the Orioles, but this will be his first appearance against them since April 12, 2001.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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