Toronto (27-21) at Baltimore (19-26)

Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 26, 2009
  • TV: RSN, MASN2
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When Ricky Romero(notes) went on the disabled list, the Toronto Blue Jays were sprinting through the first two weeks of the season and were the surprise team atop the AL East despite an ailing staff.

The rookie starter will return Tuesday night, but he’ll be rejoining a Blue Jays team that’s dropped seven in a row - all on the road - to fall out of first place.

Set to make his fourth career start, Romero will try to help Toronto avoid tying its longest road losing streak in seven seasons as it continues a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles.

The highly touted left-hander, the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft, won his major league debut April 9 against Detroit and pitched seven scoreless innings in a victory over Oakland on April 19. A strained right oblique, however, landed Romero (2-0, 1.71 ERA) on the disabled list the next day, joining fellow injured starters Jesse Litsch(notes), Shaun Marcum(notes) and Dustin McGowan(notes).

The Blue Jays (27-21) have gotten closer B.J. Ryan(notes) and converted starter Casey Janssen(notes) back from injury, but their lack of hitting continued in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Orioles. Toronto’s only offense came on Vernon Wells’(notes) first-inning RBI single as it went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Once the major league leader in runs, Toronto has been outscored 34-11 during its seven-game slide. The Blue Jays haven’t hit a home run in six contests.

“It’s about getting timely hits,” manager Cito Gaston told the team’s official Web site. “In the first part of the season … we got a lot of timely hits. We’re just not getting (hits) with guys in scoring position. That will beat you every time.”

Toronto will be trying to avoid losing eight straight for the first time since a nine-game skid from May 1-10, 2007. The Blue Jays haven’t dropped eight in a row away from home since July 26-July 5, 2002.

The Orioles (19-26) took advantage of their slumping AL East rivals to pick up their third win in four games and first over Toronto in four meetings this season. Baltimore has dropped 14 of its last 18 against the Blue Jays and five of the last seven at Camden Yards.

“Toronto has given us some hard times in the last couple years, and certainly they are playing good baseball this year,” second baseman Brian Roberts(notes) said. “So for us to beat a good team in our own division, yeah, I think that is something we can build on a little bit.”

Roberts shook off a bruised left shin and hit an RBI triple in the seventh inning.

“It got stiff and sore as the game moved on. When you’re running, you don’t really think about it,” Roberts said. “When I stopped is when it hurt.”

Baltimore is expected to promote Jason Berken to start Tuesday’s game, which would be his major league debut. The 25-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Norfolk this season.

The Orioles will likely place outfielder Lou Montanez(notes) on the 15-day disabled list to clear a roster spot for Berken. Montanez is expected to undergo surgery Tuesday for a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

R. Romero Tor vs. J. Berken Phi
13-9 Record 6-12
4.30 ERA 6.54
141 K 66
79 BB 44
1.52 WHIP 1.74


Tuesday, May 26