Back on Track?

One of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland's biggest concerns has been his team's inconsistency at the plate. Fielding a team without Magglio Ordonez hasn't helped.

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In their first game following the All-Star break, the Tigers expect to have Ordonez back in the lineup for the first time in nearly three weeks when they open a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Detroit -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 72% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Detroit (47-47) ranks 10th in the major leagues in runs scored with 449, but the Tigers have struggled intermittently, getting shut out a major league-high 10 times.

"I'm still shocked about the inconsistency of our offense," Detroit manager Jim Leyland told the team's official Web site. "The inconsistency is a big concern. When you talk about the first half, you'd say the biggest surprise is that the offense hasn't done well. We need to get that fixed."

The Tigers have gone 7-7 without Ordonez - out since June 29 with a pulled oblique - who is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list prior to Thursday's game. The outfielder is batting .307 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs on the season, and .378 in his last 23 games at Baltimore.

Ordonez will likely return to the cleanup spot in the lineup, hitting just behind All-Star third baseman Carlos Guillen.

Guillen nearly hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of the American League's 4-3 win in 15 innings Tuesday night. He's batting .284 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs.

Guillen has struggled at times defensively, though, as he has 10 errors - is fourth-most among AL third basemen. He'll be backing up Kenny Rogers (6-6, 4.55 ERA) on Thursday.

In his start one week ago, Rogers gave up three runs and nine hits in seven innings as Detroit lost 7-6 to Minnesota. He had gone 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA in his previous three outings.

The left-hander is 10-9 with a 4.67 ERA in 28 career starts and 18 relief appearances against the Orioles, but hasn't faced them since July 2005.

Baltimore (45-48) will counter with Garrett Olson (6-4, 5.65 ERA), who is 1-3 with an 8.38 ERA in his last six starts. He is coming off his worst start of the season, as he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings as Baltimore lost 9-8 to Toronto on Wednesday night.

This will be the left-hander's first appearance against Detroit.

Olson hasn't been the only Orioles player struggling in recent weeks. Baltimore was three games above .500 following a 10-4 win over Texas on July 4, but lost seven of its final eight games before All-Star break.

That slump dropped the Orioles from third to last in the AL East. Still, they have shown improvement after losing 93 games in 2007.

"In the past, people would think the Orioles were just a walkover team. It's not like that this year," Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones said. "I'll put our team against any team right this second without a second thought."

This will be the first matchup of the season between Detroit and Baltimore. In 2007, the Tigers won their final five games versus the Orioles after losing the first meeting.

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