Orioles-Blue Jays Preview

The Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays' pitching staff has been battling control problems, and Ricky Romero continues thinking of ways to correct his own issues.

Facing the Baltimore Orioles may do the trick.

Fresh off ending its losing streak, Toronto looks to deal the struggling Orioles their fourth consecutive defeat Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

Romero (5-1, 3.86 ERA) has pitched well overall, limiting opponents to a .208 average and completing at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts. Consistently throwing strikes, though, has been an issue for him and other Blue Jays pitchers.

Romero allowed four runs and walked a career-high seven in six-plus innings of Toronto's 5-4, 11-inning loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He's walked 21 in his last four starts, and his 37 walks in 2012 are tied with teammate Kyle Drabek for second-most in the majors.

The Blue Jays are giving up 4.07 walks per nine innings - the worst mark in baseball.

"I can't explain it," Romero said. "It's frustrating. I've just got to keep working. This game takes a lot out of you mentally more than physically. I'm trying to fix things and it's just not going my way.

"I beat myself again."

The left-hander hasn't had that problem recently against the Orioles, pitching at least eight innings while winning his last three starts with a 1.11 ERA. Romero, who didn't walk a single batter in his most recent start versus Baltimore on Aug. 7, is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in the series since 2010.

The Blue Jays (25-24) ended a five-game losing streak with a 6-2 win in the series opener Monday, dealing the Orioles (29-20) their sixth loss in eight games. Edwin Encarnacion hit his 16th homer - tied for second in the majors behind Texas' Josh Hamilton - after hitting 17 all of last season.

Baltimore, tied with Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, struck out 10 times for the second consecutive game, and it has gone back-to-back contests without a homer for the first time all season. It trailed 6-0 through four innings Monday.

"We got on our heels," manager Buck Showalter said. "It knocked a lot of wind out of our sails starting off like that."

The Orioles have totaled seven runs during their three-game skid after plating eight in a win over Kansas City on Friday. Adam Jones, who recently signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract extension, went 1 for 4 for the seventh time in his last eight games Monday, though he's hitting .333 during a 19-game hitting streak.

Mark Reynolds went 2 for 3 and drove in a run in his first game since May 10 after dealing with a strained oblique.

"Everybody was glad to see him. I know he's glad to be back," Showalter said.

Baltimore will send Jake Arrieta (2-5, 4.87) to the mound looking to get back on track.

Arrieta is 0-3 with a 7.15 ERA in his last four starts after allowing four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-5 loss to Boston on Wednesday.

The right-hander has pitched pretty well against Toronto, though, going 3-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four career starts. Despite Monday's loss, Baltimore is still 5-2 against the Blue Jays this year.

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