Orioles on deck: What to watch Wednesday afternoon vs. Twins

Orioles (25-19) vs. Twins (24-18)

Where: Camden Yards


First pitch: 12:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (1-0, 3.52 ERA) vs. Twins RHP Jose Berrios (2-0, 0.59 ERA

What to watch

1. Deepening struggles. On May 9, the Orioles were 22-10. They have lost nine of 12 games since. Pitching is at the heart of it, as the club has a 5.45 ERA over its past dozen games. The Orioles have been fortunate that the rest of the American League East chose the exact same time to struggle. Each of the Orioles' four division rivals is 5-5 over its past 10 games. So, the Orioles have fallen just 1 1/2 games out of first place and remain two games ahead of the Boston Red Sox.

2. Intriguing. Today's pitching matchup is an interesting one, just like last night's. Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles coming off his first quality start of the season. Jose Berrios, one of the top prospects in baseball before struggling to an 8.02 ERA in his rookie season in 2016, is off to an outstanding start this year. Berrios has won both of his starts, allowing one run in 15 1/3 innings, lasting 7 2/3 frames in each. Can Tillman take the next step and can the Orioles be the first team to get to Berrios this season?

3. Wake up. The Orioles lineup had been rolling along, averaging 6.2 runs, 11.2 hits and 2.0 homers per game over the eight games before Tuesday. But then Ervin Santana held them to two singles in a complete-game shutout. The Orioles could use a bounce-back, especially against someone pitching as well as Berrios, to keep their hot streak going and avoid the start of an offensive funk.

Orioles lineup

RF Seth Smith
CF Adam Jones
3B Manny Machado
DH Mark Trumbo
1B Chris Davis
LF Trey Mancini
2B Jonathan Schoop
SS J.J. Hardy
C Caleb Joseph