WP: Casey Fossum (5-8)
LP: Erik Bedard (5-2)
BAL: 50-47 (3rd in AL East, 3.5 behind Boston, 2 behind New York, 1.5 ahead of Toronto)
Not even Erik Bedard could help the Orioles snap out of their funk, as the team dropped its fifth game in a row on Sunday and were swept by the Major League's worst team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The return to mediocrity has been rough for the Orioles, with the offense that was expected to score so many runs this season faltering. They have only managed more than three runs once in the past eight games. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has held up their end but has not been rewarded with wins.
Sunday was no different, with Erik Bedard throwing six innings in his second game after coming off the disabled list, giving up three runs.
Todd Byrdak gave up one run and Jason Grimsley gave up two to round out Tampa's scoring, while the Orioles only managed two runs on Casey Fossum that came on solo homers from Sal Fasano (9) and Sammy Sosa (11).
Now the Orioles return home after the 10 game road trip in which they went 3-7 and dropped to only three games over .500. The schedule doesn't get any easier, as the Birds will face the Rangers and White Sox in the seven game homestand.
The Orioles do hope to get a boost from the return of star catcher Javy Lopez, who has been on the disabled list for over two months.
Tonight, the O's send Daniel Cabrera (8-7, 4.64 ERA, throws right) to the mound against Joaquin Benoit (1-1, 2.32 ERA, throws right). Cabrera has been solid in his last four outings (three wins and a no-decision), giving up only five earned runs in 25.1 innings (a 1.79 ERA in that span).
Benoit has been great for the Rangers out of the bullpen this season, but in his only start (July 20 against the Yankees), he gave up six runs in five innings and watched his ERA balloon from 0.69 to 2.32. Benoit hasn't pitched more than five innings in any game this season.