A strong pitching effort ended Baltimore’s longest losing streak of the season, and now the Orioles are hoping they can get another one from one of their most disappointing starters in 2008.
Daniel Cabrera pitched a complete game in Thursday’s series opener, giving up just three hits and striking out seven in a 4-1 win over the Royals (15-19) to help the Orioles (17-18) end a five-game losing streak. Nick Markakis had a three-run homer to provide the margin of victory.
The win was Baltimore’s 10th straight against the Royals overall, and sixth straight in Kansas City. The Orioles have not lost to the Royals since a 7-5 road defeat on July 25, 2006.
To keep that streak intact, however, Trachsel (1-4, 7.43 ERA) will likely have to figure out a way to turn his season around. The 37-year-old right-hander has failed to go more than three innings in three of his last four starts and was battered for six runs - all on three homers - in three innings of Sunday’s 6-5 loss at the Los Angeles Angels.
Trachsel’s struggles even called into question whether he would keep his spot in the rotation, but manager Dave Trembley said Monday he has no plans to demote the veteran to the bullpen.
“I’m just kind of really frustrated,” Trachsel said. “I just haven’t been getting the job done lately, and I’m not real happy about that.”
Trachsel is 1-3 with a 4.81 ERA in nine career starts against the Royals. However, the lone win came in his most recent outing against them, a complete-game, 9-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium last May 28.
He’ll face a Royals offense that has averaged only 2.9 runs over its last seven games and ranks last in the AL with 120 this season. Third baseman Alex Gordon managed a double against Cabrera on Thursday, while Ross Gload and Tony Pena Jr. each singled.
“Our discipline wasn’t real bad,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “We didn’t see nearly as many pitches as I would like for us to see, but when a guy is filling up the strike zone, you can’t stop and look at everything.”
Kansas City will be try to generate a little more offense for starter Gil Meche (2-4, 5.98).
The Royals’ opening-day starter turned in his best outing of 2008 on Sunday, going a season-high seven innings in a 2-0 win in Cleveland.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” said Meche, who had given up at least five runs in three of his previous five starts. “This is the game I really needed to see.”
Meche is 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 15 career starts against the Orioles - his best ERA against any AL team. However, he has lost four straight decisions to Baltimore.