Play it again -- Orioles 6, Devil Rays 4

The Baltimore Sun

Bullpen flexes its muscle

The three-game series at Tropicana Field, which the Orioles captured with a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays yesterday, provided a snapshot on why the Orioles spent about $42 million to upgrade their bullpen. The Orioles got only 13 innings out of their starters in the series, yet still took two out of three games. The reason: Their bullpen was far superior to Tampa Bay's. In the series, Orioles relievers pitched 13 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run (0.69 ERA).

Communication problems

Alberto Castillo had never caught Erik Bedard, aside from a bullpen session, and that ultimately showed yesterday. In one sequence, Bedard shook off Castillo five straight times. Castillo had to go the mound several times to talk with the Orioles ace, whose deliberate pace earned him boos from an otherwise indifferent crowd. Bedard left the clubhouse yesterday before talking to the media, but Castillo acknowledged that the two had communication difficulties.

Hard to figure

Devil Rays ace Scott Kazmir is considered one of the best young pitchers in the game and the Orioles have struggled to hit left-handers the past two seasons. But Kazmir, 23, has been one of the exceptions. He is 0-1 with a 7.41 ERA in his past four starts against the Orioles and has lasted just 17 combined innings in those four starts, giving up 14 earned runs, 23 hits and 11 walks. Yesterday, he needed 102 pitches to get through four innings, leaving after surrendering three earned runs.

On deck

The Orioles are off today in preparation for a three-game weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The series begins tomorrow with Daniel Cabrera (1-1, 3.66) facing Toronto right-hander A.J. Burnett (1-1, 7.07). Cabrera was 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts against the Blue Jays last season.

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