Thursday, June 30, 2005

Preview of Thursday's Games (6/30)

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Nationals
Game time: 1:05 p.m.
Location: RFK Stadium

Standings
PIT: 34-42, 5th in NL Central (14.5 behind St. Louis)
WAS: 46-31, 1st in NL East (3.5 ahead of Atlanta)

Pitching Match-up
PIT: Kip Wells (5-7, 4.36 ERA) Throws Right
WAS: Esteban Loaiza (3-5, 3.63 ERA) Throws Right

The Nationals go for a sweep of the reeling Pirates this afternoon after winning each of the first two games of the series by one run.
The Nats have gone on a tear in June and are looking for their 20th win this month, countered by only six losses. According to ESPN.com, this is the winningest June in franchise history.
The Bucs are headed in the opposite direction. After hitting the .500 mark at 30-30 with a win over Tampa Bay on June 11, the Pirates have dropped 12 of 16 to fall eight games under and 14.5 behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Esteban Loaiza will pitch for Washington, and he is coming off a fantastic outing against the Blue Jays on June 24 in which he threw six scoreless innings, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out five. On top of that, when he left the game with a 2-0 lead, Loaiza had actually knocked in both Nationals runs! Washington went on to win that game 3-0 for Loaiza’s third win of the year.
Pittsburgh turns to Kip Wells, who has been beaten around in his last three outings (against the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals), all of which were losses. Wells has gave up 18 runs – 16 earned – over 14.2 innings during his short skid.


Cleveland Indians @ Orioles
Game Time: 7:05 p.m.
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Standings
CLE: 41-35, 3rd in AL Central (11 behind Chicago)
BAL: 43-34, 2nd in AL East (2 behind Boston, 4 ahead of New York)

Pitching Match-up
CLE: Jake Westbrook (5-9, 4.52 ERA) Throws Right
BAL: Hayden Penn (2-1, 6.07 ERA) Throws Right

As soon as the Orioles get a huge win and some momentum and you think that for the first time in a week the team doesn’t need a day off, they get one with a rainout.
The O’s look to take another step toward righting the ship tonight when they face the red-hot Cleveland Indians.
Baltimore is coming off a season-long six game losing streak that pushed them out of first place in the AL East. That streak ended on Tuesday when Brian Roberts launched the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning from Mike Stanton into the left-field seats for his first career walk-off homer and a 5-4 win over the Yankees.
Cleveland has gone 16-6 over their last 22 games, but lost last night, 5-2, to Boston.
Boston doesn’t play tonight so it is a chance for the Orioles to pick up half a game in the standings.
Hayden Penn, the 20-year-old rookie, will attempt to shake off a disastrous outing against the Braves on June 24 in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks, making it through just two innings.
Cleveland pitcher Jake Westbrook, on the other hand, has given up seven runs over 22 innings in winning his last three starts.
Penn was supposed to pitch yesterday and Bruce Chen was supposed to go today, but O’s manager Lee Mazzilli apparently decided to skip Chen to give him some time to heal the the left big toe that he hyperextended on June 25 against Atlanta.
According to ESPN.com, 3B Melvin Mora was listed as questionable last night and there is no word on whether or not he will play tonight.

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