Washington (28-37) at Baltimore (29-36)

Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Jun 14, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeremy Guthrie is having an outstanding season for the Baltimore Orioles. The same can’t be said for his teammates.

Guthrie will try to help the Orioles avoid a season high-tying fifth straight loss Thursday night as they conclude a three-game series against the Washington Nationals in a matchup of last-place teams.

Baltimore’s beleaguered bullpen failed again Wednesday, as closer Chris Ray surrendered a three-run triple to Felipe Lopez in the 11th inning of a 9-6 loss.

Ray already has five losses and four blown saves this season, but is far from the only Orioles reliever currently struggling.

Baltimore’s bullpen is 8-15 and has converted only 13 of 23 save opportunities. The Orioles have led in their last 20 games, but are only 10-10 in that span.

Jay Payton had four hits Wednesday, including a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, for Baltimore (29-36), which has lost nine of 11 to drop a season-high seven games under .500.

“There was some positives to be taken out of the game, no question, but the fact of the matter is we just didn’t come out on the winning end of it,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

One of the few bright spots for the Orioles has been Guthrie (3-1, 2.70 ERA), who was acquired off waivers from Cleveland on Jan. 29. With any help from his teammates, Guthrie could be a contender for AL rookie of the year as well as a candidate for a spot on the All-Star team.

He has pitched well since moving into the rotation on April 24, posting a 1.76 ERA in eight starts, but only has two wins during that span.

Guthrie turned in another solid start Saturday against Colorado, yielding two runs and six hits in eight innings before leaving without a decision in Baltimore’s 3-2, 10-inning loss.

“He was outstanding again,” Perlozzo said. “He keeps pitching great. You have to take the positive out of that. If he keeps pitching like that, we’ll win some games.”

The right-hander hasn’t permitted more than three runs in any of his eight starts while lasting at least seven innings in six consecutive appearances. The Orioles’ bullpen, however, has failed to hold four of his leads.

Guthrie faced the Nationals for the first time in his career on May 19 and limited them to one run and four hits in seven innings with a career-high 10 strikeouts. He left trailing 1-0 before the Orioles rallied for a 3-2 victory in 11 innings.

Wednesday’s victory was the fourth in five games for Washington (28-37), which is assured of a fourth straight series win on the road, a feat the franchise hasn’t accomplished in one season since the Montreal Expos did it in 2001.

The Nationals began this season 5-16 on the road, but have since won nine of 11 away from home.

Jason Simontacchi (3-4, 5.44) looks to build on one of his most effective starts of the season for Washington. The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits in a season-best 7 2-3 innings Friday in an 8-5 victory at Minnesota. He had lost his two previous starts, yielding 12 runs - 10 earned - and 16 hits over 11 innings.

In his only career start against the Orioles, Simontacchi gave up three runs and eight hits over six innings in a 5-4 home loss May 18.

The Nationals have averaged 8.3 runs during a three-game win streak against the Orioles after totaling three runs in the first two meetings this season.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Simontacchi Was vs. J. Guthrie KC
6-7 Record 7-5
6.37 ERA 3.70
42 K 123
23 BB 47
1.67 WHIP 1.21


Thursday, Jun 14