On a day that one of the most popular players in the history of the Baltimore Orioles will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the team will try to continue frustrating future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez in his bid to reach one of baseball’s major milestones.
The Orioles look to win their seventh straight game and prevent Rodriguez from hitting his 500th career homer when they try to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees on Sunday.
Former Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Busloads of Orioles fans have headed for the ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the occasion, leaving even more seats at Camden Yards this weekend for fans of the Yankees (55-49), who usually have plenty of them on hand anyway in Baltimore.
The New York contingent undoubtedly would like to see Rodriguez become the 22nd major leaguer to reach 500 homers for his career. The third baseman is enjoying a tremendous season, leading the majors with 35 homers and 102 RBIs.
He’s had a difficult time this weekend in Baltimore, however, going 0-for-6 with two walks in the first two games of this series and striking out three times in a 7-5 loss on Saturday. Rodriguez also grounded out in the ninth inning Friday of the suspended game the Yankees won 8-7.
“They’re being extremely careful. I’m kind of playing into their hands a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “There’s not much I can do with the pitches I’m swinging at. … I got one pitch (to hit) in three games. I can’t help it.”
New York has fallen nine games behind first-place Boston in the AL East, and trails Cleveland by five games for the wild card. The Yankees have lost three straight after winning 11 of 13 after the All-Star break.
Baltimore (49-54) has used strong six-inning efforts from two of its young starters to win the first two games of this series. Jeremy Guthrie yielded just two runs in a 4-2 win on Friday, while Brian Burres gave up one run on Saturday.
The Orioles, who have won eight straight at home, improved to 6-2 against the Yankees. Miguel Tejada went 2-for-4 with four RBIs on Saturday after entering the game just 1-for-19 against New York this year.
Sunday’s starters will be the two pitchers who started the June 28 suspended game that was completed Friday.
Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera (7-10, 5.04 ERA) allowed four runs over 6 1-3 innings in that game. He’s 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA in nine career starts against New York, and Rodriguez is 8-for-20 (.400) with two homers against him.
The right-hander pitched one of the best games of his career Tuesday, allowing one hit over seven innings in a 3-0 victory over Tampa Bay.
Cabrera is 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in four day starts.
Chien-Ming Wang (11-5, 3.57) looks to win for the fifth time in six starts for New York. He’s 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last five outings, including wins in two straight road starts.
The right-hander gave up four runs over six innings in a 9-4 victory at Kansas City on Tuesday. It also marked the fifth straight start in which he failed to allow a homer.
Wang is 2-1 with a 4.87 ERA over seven appearances against Baltimore in his career. He gave up six runs over 6 1-3 innings in the June 28 game in his only outing against the Orioles this year.