Baltimore (36-47) at Chicago (36-44)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 4, 2007
  • TV: MASN, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Baltimore Orioles figured they would have a relatively young rotation this season. Injuries, however, have forced them to be even younger than they hoped.

Garrett Olson makes his major league debut Wednesday night when the Orioles continue a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Orioles (36-46) envisioned a rotation this season of Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, Adam Loewen and veterans Kris Benson and Jaret Wright.

Benson, though, was put on the disabled list in spring training and is out for the season with a torn right rotator cuff. The oft-injured Wright was 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA in three starts before right shoulder soreness likely ended his season in April.

The biggest blow, however, came when the team learned Loewen, 23, would be out for the season with a stress fracture in his left elbow. He was 2-0 with a 3.56 ERA in six starts before going on the DL on May 4.

While Bedard, 28, leads the majors with 134 strikeouts and has shown signs of becoming a legitimate ace in his fifth season, the erratic Cabrera, 26, still battles wildness nearly every start.

If not for those injuries, though, the Orioles would not have discovered rookie Jeremy Guthrie, who is second in the AL with a 2.63 ERA. He would be a leading contender for AL rookie of the year with any run support.

Brian Burres, another rookie, has also done a very good job filling in, going 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in nine starts.

Olson becomes the third rookie in Baltimore’s rotation as he takes the place of Steve Trachsel, who was put on the 15-day DL Friday with a strained gluteus.

Olson, one of Baltimore’s top pitching prospects, was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Norfolk. The 23-year-old left-hander was 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six June starts, allowing eight earned runs in 40 innings with 40 strikeouts.

He led the International League in innings (104), ranked 10th in ERA and was second in strikeouts (94).

“We feel he deserved a chance,” Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley said. “He’s coming off some real good outings.”

Olson hopes to fare better than Bedard and Cabrera have in the first two games of this series.

Baltimore starters have allowed 11 runs, 10 hits and nine walks over 11 2-3 innings, but a late rally in Monday’s series opener helped the Orioles to an improbable 7-6 victory.

The White Sox (36-44) rebounded from Monday’s bullpen meltdown with a 5-1 victory Tuesday, as Javier Vazquez pitched a four-hitter for his 21st career complete game.

Jim Thome gave Vazquez all the support he needed with a three-run homer in the fourth inning, leading Chicago to its seventh win in nine games.

“We have a nice thing going on right now, we’ve won a few games,” Vazquez said.

It was only the 16th home win for the White Sox, tying them with Cincinnati and Washington for the fewest in the majors.

Jose Contreras (5-9, 4.89) will be facing the Orioles at home on July 4th for the second consecutive season. He gave up six hits in 6 2-3 innings in a 13-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field last year.

The right-hander pitched well in a loss to the Cubs on June 24, but was reached for six runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings Friday in an 8-1 defeat at Kansas City. He has lost four of his last five starts, allowing five runs or more three times in that stretch.

Contreras is 3-2 with a 4.81 ERA in seven career starts against Baltimore.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Olson Oak vs. J. Contreras Tex
1-3 Record 10-17
7.79 ERA 5.57
28 K 113
28 BB 62
2.16 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jul 4