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Today's game previews -- May 12

The Triple-A Norfolk Tides begin a four-game series against the Syracuse Chiefs, while the Double-A Bowie Baysox face the Akron Aeros.

The Single-A Frederick Keys are scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

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The Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds started the final game of their homestand against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 10:35 a.m.

Norfolk Tides (AAA)

Opponent

at Syracuse Chiefs (7 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Norfolk: Chris Tillman (3-0, 2.52 ERA)

Syracuse: Collin Balester (1-4, 4.94 ERA)

Notes

* After two no-decisions to begin the season, Tillman earned a win in his past three starts for the Tides. The 21-year-old right-hander gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings against the Columbus Clippers in his last start in the first game of a doubleheader on May 7. Overall, Tillman has collected 27 strikeouts in 25 innings, and he has walked 10 batters.

* Balester hasn't pitched well to begin the 2009 season. Opponents are batting .313 in six starts against him. The 22-year-old right-hander suffered back-to-back losses in his past two starts, and he has allowed 17 runs and 40 hits in 31 innings so far this year. Balester gave up two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Gwinnett Braves in his last start on May 7.

* After splitting a four-game series with the bottom-feeding Buffalo Bisons (7-22), the Tides look to hold onto their 1/2-game lead in the International League South Division. Norfolk is 18-12 so far this season, while the Durham Bulls are 18-13. Syracuse (16-13) is tied for third place in the North Division with the Rochester Red Wings. The Pawtucket Red Sox are in second place with an 18-12 record, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (23-8) lead the division.Bowie Baysox (AA)

Opponent

at Akron Aeros (7:05 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Bowie: Troy Patton (3-0, 0.95 ERA)

Akron: Hector Rondon (5-0, 1.23 ERA)

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Notes

* Patton leads the Eastern League with a 0.95 ERA after five starts in 2009. The 23-year-old left-hander has given up four runs (three earned) and 16 hits in 28 1/3 innings for the Baysox. In his last start, Patton allowed two hits in six scoreless innings against the Trenton Thunder in the first game of a doubleheader on May 7. He struck out six batters and issued two walks in Bowie's 6-0 victory.

* While Patton has a slightly better ERA, Rondon is tied with New Hampshire Fisher Cats left-hander Marc Rzepczynski for the most victories in the Eastern League (five). Rondon is also third in the league with a 1.23 ERA in five starts. The 21-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed more than one run in each of his five starts. He defeated the Baysox on April 8 after giving up one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

* The Baysox gained a game on Akron in the Eastern League Southern Division with last night's victory. Bowie (12-16) currently sits in fourth place in the division, 10 games behind the Aeros (22-6). The Erie SeaWolves (19-10) are 3 1/2 games behind Akron, while the Reading Phillies (17-11) are five games back.

Frederick Keys (A)

Opponent

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (5 p.m.)

Game 1: Probable pitchers

Frederick: Tim Bascom (2-3, 3.63 ERA)

Myrtle Beach: Edgar Osuna (2-2, 4.55 ERA)

Game 2: Probable pitchers

Frederick: TBA

Myrtle Beach: TBA

Notes

* In six games (five starts) this season, Bascom has allowed 23 runs and 33 hits in 22 1/3 innings. Only nine of the runs are earned, however, thanks to poor defense behind him. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed five runs (one earned) and five hits in two innings against the Winston-Salem Dash in his last start on May 7 at Harry Grove Stadium.

* Osuna gave up three runs and five hits in three innings against the Lynchburg Hillcats on May 6. He didn't factor in the decision in the Pelicans' 6-5 loss, which was completed on the following day after rain forced the game to be suspended. The 21-year-old left-hander suffered the loss against Frederick on April 14 after allowing five runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

* At the time of this entry, neither team had announced a starting pitcher for the second game of the doubleheader. Before last night's rainout, Frederick's listed pitcher for tonight's game was Nathan Nery, while the Pelicans were expected to start Jeffrey Locke. Those two pitchers could start the second game, or the teams might choose to use a relief pitcher in a spot start.

* With two straight victories over the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Keys (12-18) are closer to getting out of last place in the Carolina League Northern Division. Frederick is now one game behind the Blue Rocks (13-17), but the Keys trail the Potomac Nationals and Lynchburg Hillcats -- both teams are 19-11 -- by seven games in the division. Myrtle Beach is in last place in the Southern Division with a 10-20 record. The Pelicans trail the Kinston Indians (17-14) by 6 1/2 games in the division.

Delmarva Shorebirds (A)

The Shorebirds are currently losing, 6-0, in the fourth inning against Greensboro at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury. It is Delmarva's final game of the eight-game homestand. The Shorebirds are idle tomorrow, and they start an eight-game road trip against the West Virginia Power on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Come back to O's on Deck for the complete recap later.

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