Baltimore (51-58) at Tampa Bay (42-67)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:40 pm EDT Sun Aug 5, 2007
  • TV: MASN2, WXPX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Baltimore Orioles have dominated their season series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Erik Bedard is a good candidate to continue their success.

The Orioles look to win their ninth straight game started by Bedard, and he tries to win his career-high eighth straight decision in the finale of a three-game series against the Devil Rays on Sunday.

Bedard (11-4, 3.05 ERA) has gone 7-0 with a 2.01 ERA to lead Baltimore (51-58) to a perfect record in his eight outings since June 21. In that stretch, he leads the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He hasn’t lost since giving up three runs in five innings of a 6-1 defeat against Colorado on June 10.

“He might be the best pitcher in baseball right now,” said Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who worked with Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine when he was with Atlanta. “The greatest compliment I could give him is that I have coached some of the greatest rotations, and he could fit in with any of them.”

Bedard won his fifth straight start Tuesday, holding Boston to two runs and two hits in six innings of Baltimore’s 5-3 victory. The streak is two shy of his career-high seven-start win streak, set June 16-July 23, 2006.

“I just threw strikes and tried to keep it out of the middle of the plate,” he told the Orioles’ official Web site.

Bedard has gone 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in three starts against Tampa Bay this season, helping the Orioles take nine of 11 meetings with the Devil Rays (42-67). In 18 career games, including 17 starts against Tampa Bay, he is 9-3 with a 2.87 ERA.

The Devil Rays, though, snapped an eight-game losing streak against Baltimore with a 9-2 win on Saturday - their fourth win in six games after an eight-game losing streak.

Carl Crawford went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs, and is batting .411 (23-for-56) with two home runs and 11 stolen bases in his last 16 games. Saturday’s performance improved his season average against the Orioles to .364 (16-for-44). Crawford, though, is 10-for-45 (.222) with 15 strikeouts in his career against Bedard.

“We have not hit well against (the Orioles),” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon told the Devil Rays’ official Web site. “We’ve seen Bedard too often. We have not matched up well against them.”

The Orioles, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in six games after matching a season high with six straight wins July 22-28. Baltimore pitchers had a 2.50 ERA during that run, but have a 5.82 ERA over their last six games.

Baltimore will try to rebound against rookie Andy Sonnanstine (1-6, 5.55), who lost to Bedard in his only career start against the Orioles on July 25. He was reached for five runs in six innings of the 6-1 defeat.

On Monday, the right-hander didn’t get a decision after allowing four runs in 6 2-3 innings of Tampa Bay’s 5-4 loss in 11 innings to Toronto. He is 0-6 since beating Florida for his first major league win on June 10.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Bedard TB vs. A. Sonnanstine ChC
13-5 Record 6-10
3.16 ERA 5.85
221 K 97
57 BB 26
1.09 WHIP 1.35

Scoreboard

Sunday, Aug 5