Baltimore (38-49) at Texas (37-50)

Fair Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 8, 2007
  • TV: MASN2, KDFI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Erik Bedard appears to be on his way to becoming the ace the Baltimore Orioles have lacked for years. Now if they could just find a way for that success to rub off on Daniel Cabrera.

Cabrera has a very difficult act to follow as he takes the mound for the Orioles on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.

Bedard turned in the finest start of his career and one of the best pitching performances of the season Saturday, tossing a two-hitter with a franchise record-tying 15 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory. He faced the minimum 27 batters and did not issue a walk.

Bedard, who leads the majors with 149 strikeouts, earned his seventh win, putting him one ahead of Cabrera (6-9, 5.15 ERA) for the team lead.

While Bedard has harnessed his ability to become the ace the Orioles have lacked since Mike Mussina left after the 2000 season, Cabrera continues to be plagued by wildness and inconsistency.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander leads the AL with 56 walks this season after topping the majors with 104 last year.

He gave up five runs, six hits and five walks over six innings Tuesday in a 7-3 loss to the White Sox. Cabrera has allowed four runs or more in five of his past six starts.

“Daniel is only 25 (actually 26), but baseball wise, I think he’s younger than that,” Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone said on the team’s official Web site. “When you have an arm like that, certainly the ability to go to a high level is there. He has pitches. It’s just a matter of a little more confidence at times when he unloads it.”

Mazzone had Orioles broadcaster and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer work with Cabrera on Thursday. Mazzone said he used Don Sutton in a similar capacity in Atlanta.

“Whatever tools that are available to you, you take advantage of them,” Mazzone said. “This is just fine-tuning or whatever you want to call it. It’s maintenance basically, which is a constant with every single pitcher you have.”

Cabrera is 1-4 with a 6.25 ERA six career starts against the Rangers.

Bedard got all the support he needed in the second inning with Jay Gibbons’ solo homer.

Gibbons is 5-for-13 with two home runs and four RBIs in his last three games after he had three homers in his first 61 contests.

Baltimore (38-48) is 3-3 on its seven-game road trip and 9-8 since interim manager Dave Trembley took over from Sam Perlozzo on June 18.

The Rangers need a win in this game to avoid losing a series for the first time since they dropped two of three at Pittsburgh June 12-14. Texas is 13-8 since losing that series.

Kevin Millwood (5-7, 6.54) looks to beat the Orioles for the fourth straight start. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and two complete games in his last three starts against Baltimore, and 5-2 with a 4.13 ERA in eight career outings versus the club.

Millwood had pitched much better lately after allowing four runs or more in eight consecutive starts earlier this season. He is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in his past four starts, pitching at least six innings in each appearance.

The right-hander was very sharp in an 8-3 win over the Angels on Tuesday, yielding two runs and five hits in eight innings.

Baltimore’s Kevin Millar is batting .323 (10-for-31) with one home run against Millwood.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Cabrera Cin vs. K. Millwood Sea
9-18 Record 10-14
5.55 ERA 5.16
166 K 123
108 BB 67
1.54 WHIP 1.62

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 8