Baltimore fans will finally get a chance to see highly touted pitching prospect John Maine in action when the Orioles open a three-game series with the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.
Maine, 23, has been the subject of much talk around the Orioles’ organization since he went 14-3 with a 2.27 ERA with Class A Delmarva and Frederick last season, earning the team’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. The right-hander is 4-5 with a 4.26 ERA for Triple-A Ottawa this season, but has a 3.22 ERA and 51 strikeouts over his last eight starts.
Manager Lee Mazzilli decided to shuffle his rotation and pitch Dave Borkowski on three days’ rest Thursday against Boston, opening a spot for Maine to make his major league debut Friday.
Maine went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA at Double-A Bowie before being promoted to Ottawa on May 15. With the Orioles struggling to find any form of consistency from their starters, Maine could earn himself a regular spot with a strong performance against the Twins.
The Orioles earned a split of their day-night doubleheader in Boston on Thursday, cruising to an 8-3 win in the opener before falling 4-0 in the nightcap. Melvin Mora had two homers and four RBIs in the opener, but the Orioles were unable to score in the second game despite outhitting the Red Sox 10-7.
Baltimore had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Nick Punto hit his first career grand slam and Michael Cuddyer connected for a go-ahead homer in the eighth as the Twins held off Tampa Bay 7-5 on Thursday, running their winning streak to four games. They remained a half-game ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Cuddyer and Punto are the latest heroes for the Twins, who are slowly breaking out of an offensive funk. On Wednesday against Tampa Bay, the Twins— powered by Henry Blanco, Justin Morneau, Lew Ford and Luis Rivas—had a season-high 17 hits.
“A different person every day,” Cuddyer said.