Question marks abound as the Orioles square off against the Cleveland Indians. Tonight, the Orioles enter a stadium they've never played in, they play a team they'd swear they haven't played before and face a pitcher who doesn't resemble at all the guy they saw last year.
The Indians are the talk of the American League, what with their recent 18-game home win streak and their position perched atop the AL Central Division. This is clearly not the team that finished 76-86 and sixth in the AL East last year. Nor is Charles Nagy the pitcher who went 2-6 with a 6.29 ERA during an injury-plagued season.
Nagy is a smart 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA this year. This will be the first time the Orioles get a crack at the new-look Nagy, as he did not pitch in the three-game series at Camden Yards in May. But as a testament to his turnaround, earlier this season Nagy became the first Indian to pitch back-to-back complete-game victories.
The only Orioles who have posted substantial numbers against Nagy are Chris Hoiles (3-for-7, .429, two RBIs), Cal Ripken (5-for-20, .250, three RBIs) and Harold Baines (6-for-22, .273, three RBIs). Nagy has managed to frustrate Leo Gomez (2-for-13, .154, three strikeouts) and, to a lesser degree, Brady Anderson (4-for-20, .200).
Alternating with Nagy on the mound will be Ben McDonald (10-5). McDonald is searching for something, anything better than his last outing, one that lasted all of 1 2/3 innings and was filled with eight Milwaukee Brewers runs on seven hits last Wednesday night. McDonald's ERA skyrocketed from 4.01 to 4.69.