Rodrigo Lopez won 60 games over five seasons as a member of the Orioles. His final year in Baltimore, however, sealed his fate with the team.
Lopez faces the Orioles for the first time as a member of the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night when the teams continue a three-game interleague series at Camden Yards.
Although he was never a top of the rotation starter, Lopez developed into a solid pitcher for the Orioles after he was signed as a minor league free agent in February 2002. He posted winning records in three of his first four seasons in Baltimore, winning a career-high 15 games in 2002 and matching that total in 2005.
Last season, though, he struggled to a 9-18 record and a 5.90 ERA and was banished to the bullpen at one point.
Lopez (2-0, 2.96 ERA) wasn’t surprised when he was traded to Colorado on Jan. 12 for two minor leaguers.
“I think they gave up on me,” Lopez said on the Orioles’ official Web site. “Especially when they put me back in the bullpen at the end of the season. It wasn’t the way I wanted to get out of Baltimore; I would have liked to have a winning season. But so far, I don’t feel like I have to prove anything or do anything different.”
The right-hander has pitched well with the Rockies despite missing more than a month with right elbow inflammation. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his five starts, although he has pitched past the sixth inning only once.
Lopez wasn’t sharp against Cincinnati on Sunday, yielding four runs and a season-high eight hits in 4 1-3 innings without receiving a decision.
The Rockies (29-32) had a five-game road winning streak snapped with a 4-2 defeat in Friday’s series opener.
Yorvit Torrealba homered for Colorado, which had won four of five and 11 of 15 overall.
Manager Clint Hurdle wasn’t around to see the final out, after he was ejected by first base umpire Larry Vanover in the eighth inning after arguing a check-swing strike.
“(Vanover) said he was warning me from where he was standing. During that argument, 150 feet away, he said he warned me,” Hurdle explained. “I said, ‘Do you think I can hear you in the dugout?”’
Nick Markakis hit a two-run homer for Baltimore (29-32), which has won two straight after a five-game skid.
Markakis is batting .375 (12-for-32) with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last nine games. He leads the Orioles with nine home runs and 39 RBIs on the season.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-1, 2.76) looks to continue his run of excellent pitching for Baltimore. The right-hander, who began this season in the bullpen, has been superb since moving into the rotation. He has allowed nine earned runs and 30 hits in 48 1-3 innings over seven starts for a 1.68 ERA.
Guthrie, though, only has one victory in his last five outings - thanks to four blown leads by the Baltimore bullpen.
The Orioles have now won three straight against the Rockies - all at Camden Yards.