In just two games, Buck Showalter has already seemed to have an effect on the Baltimore Orioles.
Showalter will try to stay unbeaten as Orioles manager and lead his team to its first series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in seven years Thursday night.
The Orioles (34-73) had started the second half 3-14 when Showalter, hired July 29, made his debut with the team Tuesday night.
Baltimore won that first game under its veteran manager 6-3 to open this three-game series with the Angels (54-55). The Orioles followed by hanging on for a 9-7 victory Wednesday night.
Luke Scott(notes) homered for the third straight game to help Baltimore withstand Los Angeles’ rally behind 17 hits. Felix Pie(notes) drove in three runs on his three hits, and Adam Jones(notes) went 3 for 4 for his third multihit performance in four games.
“Everybody knows (Showalter’s) reputation around here. They know it as someone who’s going to get on you, and it’s working for us,” Jones said. “He’s looking at all the small things that are going on, the mental mistakes, and we haven’t made too many.”
Baltimore was batting .233 in the six games before Showalter’s arrival but the team is hitting .338 in the two games against the Angels, losers of 10 of 13. The Orioles’ starting pitchers also have a 2.77 ERA in this series after posting a 7.39 mark in their first 17 games after the All-Star break.
Jake Arrieta(notes) (3-3, 5.47 ERA) will try to keep that going by ending his recent struggles. The rookie right-hander, who has never faced the Angels, is 0-1 with an 8.56 ERA in his last three starts and hasn’t gotten through the fifth inning in his past two.
He threw 102 pitches while giving up three runs and walking a career-high five over 4 1-3 innings Friday at Kansas City, but escaped without a decision in a 7-5 loss.
As they try to get back to .500, the Angels will try to help Dan Haren(notes) (0-2, 2.63) to his first win with the team and first since June 12. The right-hander, acquired from Arizona on July 25, has been given a combined two runs of support in two starts with his new club and is 0-6 with a 4.12 ERA in his last nine outings.
Haren, who was knocked out of his debut July 26 by a line drive in the fifth inning against Boston, pitched a complete game against Texas on Saturday but was on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat. He allowed both runs on a fourth-inning homer.
“I feel better about this one than last one,” Haren said. “But I felt good out there and I’m happy with the way I threw. … I wish I had that one pitch back because I was in control the whole night.”
Haren is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA in seven career starts against Baltimore, the most recent on July 21, 2007, and has won three straight matchups.
The Orioles, who have won only five of 35 series this season, took four straight over the Angels from July 17-20, 2003. Their previous three-game sweep at Camden Yards was July 23-25, 1999.
Baltimore might not have second baseman and leadoff batter Brian Roberts(notes) in the lineup. He left Wednesday’s game following a 24-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth inning because of a bruised left shin.