The Orioles headed into Minnesota on Tuesday to begin a nine-game road trip with a 10-18 record away from Camden Yards. They had lost nine of their past 12 games, including four out of five to conclude a seven-game homestand.
Throw in the fact that the Orioles were 0-7 against the Twins in 2007 and it didn't look like they were going to have much success in the series. However, the Orioles won two out of three games in Minnesota and currently sit within one game of .500 with a 29-30 record.
Now the Orioles head to Toronto for three games against the Blue Jays before heading to Boston next week to play three games against the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays are in third place in the American League East with a 32-30 record. They are 15-11 at home so far in 2008. However, they suffered a heartbreaking loss in New York against the Yankees today.
Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi hit a two-run home run to give New York a walk-off victory, 9-8. The Blue Jays led by as many as five runs during the game, but Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan couldn't preserve the win. The former Oriole allowed three runs while only recording two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Friday 6/6: Brian Burres (4-5, 4.87) vs. Shaun Marcum (5-3, 2.63)
Saturday 6/7: Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 3.58) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.32)
Sunday 6/8: Radhames Liz (1-0, 3.38) vs. Roy Halladay (7-5, 2.94)
Who you should play from the Blue Jays
Alex Rios, OF – Rios would be one of the most valuable outfielders in fantasy baseball, but he hasn't been able to hit a lot of home runs this season. Rios only has three home runs in 2008 and he hasn't connected on a long ball since May 1. However, Rios has experienced some success against the Orioles during his career. He is hitting .288 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in 68 games. Rios was 3-for-6 with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored during two games at Camden Yards in April.
Who you should bench from the Blue Jays
Shaun Marcum, RHP – It's probably a good idea to start Marcum if you are counting on him to continue his successful 2008 season. He is 5-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 78 2/3 innings pitched. Marcum has 67 strikeouts and only 22 walks. But if you're planning on starting him against the Orioles, make sure you are at least aware of his career numbers against them. Marcum is 1-1 with a 6.39 ERA in seven games (five starts) against the Orioles. He has 19 strikeouts and 15 walks in 31 innings pitched. Although Marcum is having a solid season, it might be a good idea to keep him on your bench for Friday's start.
Who you should play from the Orioles
Jeremy Guthrie, RHP – Keep putting Guthrie in your starting rotation if he is on your fantasy team. Despite a disappointing record (2-6), Guthrie has pitched very consistently this season. He hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in a start since Opening Day when he surrendered six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched. On the season, he has 53 strikeouts and only 24 walks in 83 innings pitched. As long as he keeps pitching well, he'll eventually start picking up victories. Don't the Orioles have to score some runs for him sooner or later?
Who you should bench from the Orioles
Ramon Hernandez, C – Hernandez was 0-for-6 in the two games against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards in April. In 63 career games against Toronto, he is only hitting .225 with four home runs and 30 RBIs. Combine those unflattering statistics with the fact that he probably won't play all three games in the series and you should be sitting him if he is on your team.