A pair of inconsistent teams square off for the final time this season as the Royals meet the Orioles on Monday night at Camden Yards to make up a game that was rained out on April 15.
The Royals (67-88), who have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games, are 0-6 this year against Baltimore (66-89). Kansas City has batted just .181 in those losses while being outscored 34-9.
The last time the Royals were swept in a season series by Baltimore was 2002, when they were outscored 55-16 in seven games.
Kansas City’s best chance to end an eight-game slide in this series dating back to last season could come against Cabrera (9-17, 5.51 ERA), who hasn’t won in his last six starts and is tied with St. Louis’ Kip Wells for the major league lead in losses. Cabrera has allowed opponents to bat just .259, but also leads the majors with 104 walks issued and 119 earned runs allowed.
Cabrera is 0-5 with an 8.70 ERA since beating the New York Yankees on Aug. 14, and though he’s failed to allow 10 hits in any of those games, he’s been tagged for six runs in three of them.
“There are times when he pitches and he looks unhittable and then there are other times where his ability to command the strike zone just isn’t there. And it usually costs him—or it has in recent outings,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley told the Orioles’ official Web site after an 8-5 loss to the Yankees last Monday.
This will be Cabrera’s first start after serving a six-game suspension for throwing at Boston’s Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 7. The right-hander didn’t get a decision on April 14 in the Orioles’ 6-4 win over the Royals, but is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five career starts against them.
Gil Meche (9-12, 3.70) will try to win his third straight start for Kansas City. The right-hander defeated Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox in his last two outings, allowing four runs and nine hits in 13 2-3 innings. He is 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA in five road starts, though, since beating Detroit on July 20.
With one more win this season, Meche will reach double digits for the third consecutive year. His next loss, however, will tie his career high set in 2003 with Seattle.
Meche is 0-1 with a 0.68 ERA in two starts against Baltimore this season and is looking for his first career win in nine starts at Camden Yards, where he’s 0-1 with a 3.45 ERA.
Both teams are coming off losses on Sunday. Kansas City’s Jorge De La Rosa allowed four first-inning runs in a 7-2 setback to Detroit.
Baltimore, meanwhile, fell 3-0 to Texas, and has alternated losses and wins in its last six games. Jon Leicester went the distance on a seven-hitter and Kevin Millar had three of the Orioles’ nine hits after a 5-for-31 stretch on the first nine games of their road swing.
The shutout loss was Baltimore’s fourth—all coming this month.