The Baltimore Orioles might have found a good way to break out of their slump - a matchup with the Los Angeles Angels. Kevin Millwood(notes) is hoping that will also prove the key to ending his lengthy skid.
The Orioles right-hander will try to snap a personal six-game losing streak by helping his team improve to 5-0 this season against the Angels on Saturday night.
Baltimore (46-83) opened Buck Showalter’s tenure with a three-game home sweep of Los Angeles from Aug. 3-5 and eventually started 8-1 under its new manager. The Orioles, however, entered their three-game set in Anaheim having dropped nine of 14 before Friday night’s 3-1 victory.
Another win in their next three games would clinch the team’s first winning record in August since 1997. Baltimore is 14-10 under Showalter after losing its final game under interim manager Juan Samuel to begin this month.
The Orioles haven’t finished above .500 in any month that featured more than five games since going 15-12 in June 2008.
Millwood (2-14, 5.63 ERA) is hoping to contribute by recording his first victory since June 24. The veteran right-hander, though, will need a better effort than in Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Texas.
In his 400th career start, Millwood was tagged for six runs over six innings after giving up three or fewer in three consecutive outings. He has lost three straight starts and his last six decisions.
“It’s a lot less fun than winning a whole bunch of games, no doubt about that,” Millwood told the team’s website. “I worry about the stuff I can control, and that is getting people out and making good pitches.”
Millwood won his most recent start against the Angels on Oct. 1 in Anaheim and is 3-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 11 career games there. He’s 5-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 16 starts versus Los Angeles (63-66).
This time, he’ll face a team that’s dropped nine of 13 overall and five of seven at home. The Angels also traded away closer Brian Fuentes(notes) on Friday to Minnesota for a player to be named and placed Fernando Rodney(notes) in that role.
Los Angeles is 10 1/2 games out of first place for the first time since 2003, when it finished 19 games behind AL West champion Oakland.
Scott Kazmir(notes) (8-11, 6.33) will try to help his team break out of that slump by earning just his second win since June 23. The left-hander is 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA since returning from fatigue in his pitching shoulder Aug. 7 after going 0-4 with a 13.73 ERA in his four starts before going on the disabled list.
He suffered the loss in Monday’s 4-3 defeat to Tampa Bay as he gave up three runs in the opening frame and four over his 5 1-3 innings.
“I know it sounds like a broken record, but Scott’s just having trouble moving forward with some things and he’s paying a price for it,” manager Mike Scioscia said.