Indians-Orioles Preview


The Cleveland Indians seem to enjoy visiting Camden Yards. No player likes it more than Shin-Soo Choo.

Choo looks to continue leading the Indians offensive barrage and cap this four-game series with a third victory against the Orioles and new acquisition Jim Thome on Sunday.

Cleveland (39-38) has won six of its last nine games in Baltimore (42-35), hitting .317 with 16 homers while averaging 6.8 runs.

Choo has been a big part of that with a .396 average in 13 games at Camden Yards, his highest mark at any park.

The right fielder has eight hits with two home runs and six RBIs in this series after going 4 for 5 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs in Saturday's 11-5 victory.

"I think the big thing (is) I feel comfortable, comfortable in the batter's box," Choo said. "I have confidence. I'm not changing anything."

Cleveland had a season-high 19 hits Saturday and is batting .350 with 26 runs while taking two of three from the Orioles.

The Indians entered this series hitting .210 with two homers and 11 runs during a five-game slide.

"We don't do it for a while," said Jose Lopez, who had a career-high five hits with three RBIs Saturday. "Especially Choo and a couple of guys who got three, two hits. Maybe we start and (continue) tomorrow and a week before the All-Star break."

The Orioles have lost eight of 11, during which they're hitting .201 and averaging 2.5 runs.

In an effort to spark the offense, they acquired Thome from Philadelphia for two minor leaguers Saturday.

Thome, who is tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time home run list with 609, had a .242 average with five homers and 15 RBIs in a limited role for the Phillies. He's 1 for 15 in his last six meetings with the Indians, the team he played his first 12 seasons with. He had a brief stint there last year.

"I've heard nothing but great things about his character and personality," Chris Davis said. "He's a class act. So we're going to welcome him with open arms, and hopefully he can swing it for us like he can against us."

Baltimore is scheduled to send Brian Matusz (5-9, 5.24 ERA) to the mound hoping he can end a four-start losing streak. He has an 8.31 ERA in his past four outings after winning four of his previous five with a 2.87 ERA.

The left-hander struggled again Tuesday, surrendering five runs and a career-high 13 hits in five innings of a 7-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Matusz is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against Cleveland, striking out 14 in 14 innings.

He'll be opposed by Justin Masterson (4-7, 4.09), who is 1-4 with a 6.88 ERA in six starts away from home. The right-hander lost his third straight road outing after allowing four runs and seven hits over six innings in Tuesday's 6-4 defeat to the Yankees.

Masterson had won his previous two starts - both at home - giving up one unearned run and seven hits with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.

He went 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Orioles last season.