Known primarily for their explosive offense and home run-happy ways, the Baltimore Orioles have quietly received four straight quality starts from their pitchers. The Orioles would love to extend that streak as struggling Ubaldo Jimenez looks to work himself out of his early-season troubles on Tuesday when the club concludes a nine-game road trip with the opener of a three-game interleague series versus the Cincinnati Reds.
Baltimore's starting rotation boasts a respectable 3.67 ERA, a fine number considering Jimenez lugs a gaudy 10.38 mark into the series opener. Trey Mancini increased his career homer total to seven in 12 major-league outings by belting a pair in Sunday's 11-4 win over Toronto and Manny Machado and Craig Gentry also went deep for Baltimore, which has won four of five while raising its home-run total to 18. Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez launched his team's 17th homer in Sunday's 4-2 setback to Milwaukee, marking the Reds' third loss in four outings. The 25-year-old Venezuelan is 14-for-34 with three homers, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored in his last nine games to assume the team lead the latter three offensive categories.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 10.38 ERA) vs. Reds RH Bronson Arroyo (0-2, 9.90)
Jimenez has been fortunate that his team's bats came alive in his last two outings against the New York Yankees and Boston, receiving no-decisions after 4 1/3 innings of work despite surrendering five runs in each tilt while allowing three balls to leave the yard. The 33-year-old Dominican permitted eight hits versus the Red Sox on Wednesday but carries a 3-0 mark and a 3.00 ERA in six career starts versus Cincinnati into Tuesday's tilt. Joey Votto is 5-for-15 with two doubles against Jimenez, but the hurler has kept the Reds' current roster in the park during his career.
Arroyo has struggled in his first two starts after missing the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery and rotator cuff tears. "It's only been two starts, and to be honest with you it is uncharted territory. At this level you get paid to produce, man," said the 40-year-old, who has surrendered a pair of homers in both outings and permitted 11 earned runs and 13 hits in 10 innings in losses to St. Louis and Milwaukee. Arroyo's 3-2 record is significantly better in 10 appearances (six starts) versus Baltimore, although he hasn't faced the Orioles since 2011.
1. Baltimore CF Adam Jones has hit safely in all but one game this season.
2. Cincinnati CF Billy Hamilton is 0-for-11 in his last three contests on the heels of going 11-for-33 during his seven-game hitting streak.
3. Despite being relatively close in geography, the clubs have only met in nine regular-season series - with the Orioles holding a 6-3 advantage.
PREDICTION: Reds 4, Orioles 3
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