(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles got the Buck Showalter era off to a terrific start by sweeping a series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim earlier this month. They'll be aiming to duplicate that performance when these two teams go head-to-head again tonight in the opener of a three-game set from Angel Stadium.
In Showalter's first series as the club's manager, Baltimore won three consecutive matchups with the Angels at Camden Yards from August 3-5. That outcome sparked an 8-1 start for the Orioles under the veteran skipper, and they've gone a respectable 13-10 since making the change in leadership.
The Orioles have reverted back to their losing ways of late, however. The team has dropped eight of the last 12 tilts and is coming off a pair of setbacks in a three-game series at Chicago, which cruised to an 8-0 verdict over the Birds in Thursday's finale.
Baltimore mustered only three hits and struck out 10 times against Edwin Jackson in the White Sox starter's excellent eight innings of work.
"The biggest thing is he was just locating his fastball," Orioles outfielder Corey Patterson said of Jackson. "When you do that, all your other pitches work pretty effectively."
Jake Arrieta (4-6) wasn't nearly as effective for Baltimore, as the rookie lasted just four innings and was tagged for four runs on seven hits while issuing three walks.
The Orioles could fare better tonight, considering they've prevailed in each of scheduled starter Brad Bergesen's last four trips to the mound. The right- hander has done a good job keeping his squad in games lately, as he's 2-0 with a solid 3.06 earned run average over his five most recent outings and has pitched at least seven innings in all but one of those games.
Bergesen was reached for five runs and nine hits over seven frames in his last start, but still managed to notch his fifth win of the season after getting a wealth of run support in Saturday's 8-6 decision over Texas.
The second-year major leaguer has never previously faced the Angels and is 2-5 with a 5.96 ERA in nine road starts thus far in 2010.
Anaheim is still trying to hang on in the American League West race, as the three-time defending champions find themselves 9 1/2 games back of first-place Texas at the moment. The Angels didn't help their cause with a three-game losing streak earlier this week, but were able to bounce back with a 12-3 win over playoff-hopeful Tampa Bay Wednesday at the Big A.
Howie Kendrick had five of Anaheim's 17 hits in the rout, while Mike Napoli belted a third-inning grand slam and totaled a career-best six RBI on the afternoon. Hideki Matsui added a pair of hits and knocked in three runs, while Jeff Mathis finished 2-for-5 with a two-run double for the Angels.
The outburst made things easy for Dan Haren (2-4), though the Angels starter didn't need much help. The midseason acquisition held the Rays to a run and three hits while racking up eight strikeouts before leaving after six innings.
Anaheim would love to receive a similar showing out of Trevor Bell in tonight's opener. The young right-hander hasn't fared well in a starting role this season, however, having gone 0-2 with a lackluster 6.38 ERA in four previous turns in the team's rotation.
Bell walked six batters in his latest appearance, a 4 1/3-inning stint Saturday at Minnesota in which he surrendered three runs and did not receive a decision. He was sharp in relief his previous time out, though, delivering three shutout innings in an August 17 encounter with Boston.
The 23-year-old did make a start against the Orioles back on August 3 and turned in a solid effort, permitting just two runs and four hits while fanning five in a 5 1/3-inning no-decision.
Despite its sweep of the Halos earlier this month, Baltimore has still lost nine of the past 14 games in this overall series and dropped three of four bouts to the Angels in Anaheim last season.