Ramon Ortiz will try to shake off his worst pitching performance of the season and help the Washington Nationals end a four-game losing streak when they face the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Saturday.
Ortiz (5-5, 5.27 ERA) allowed a season-high seven runs and 11 hits over 4 1-3 innings, but did not get a decision in an 11-9 win over the New York Yankees last Saturday.
That was in contrast to his effort during a five-start winning streak from May 18-June 7 when he gave up just 13 runs. The right-hander has allowed 11 runs in 11 innings over two starts since.
“We’re playing 162 games,” Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. “We all get hot and we get cold.”
Baltimore will counter with rookie Adam Loewen (0-2, 7.82) as he again tries for his first major league win. The left-hander allowed four runs and four hits over 4 2-3 innings and took the loss in a 9-4 defeat to the New York Mets on Sunday.
He’s lasted less than six innings in each of his four starts with 12 walks and 13 strikeouts in 20 2-3 innings.
“He’s got good enough stuff to pitch in the big leagues,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He still needs to improve all of it. That’s the problem. None of his pitches have been consistent enough.”
Loewen has never faced Washington.
After blowing his first save of the season, Baltimore (34-41) closer Chris Ray needed nine pitches to finish out a 2-1 win in the series opener on Friday.
“It’s a great feeling, getting the opportunity to come back out and finish the game,” said Ray, who gave up two ninth-inning homers Thursday in an 8-5 loss to Florida. “I wasn’t going to blow this one, that’s for sure.”
Ray has 19 saves in 20 chanced this season.
Washington has been outscored 28-10 during its losing streak.
“I think everybody is trying to hit a home run,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “Everybody is trying to do it all themselves. One guy, one person can’t do it.”