Angels-Orioles Preview

Injury and sickness has forced Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter to shuffle his starting rotation this weekend.

That's opened an opportunity for Mike Wright, who will make his major league debut Sunday opposite red-hot Garrett Richards and the surging Los Angeles Angels.

Baltimore (15-19) originally had Bud Norris scheduled to start Saturday and Chris Tillman for Sunday. Norris, though, was scratched with a case of bronchitis and Tillman's start was skipped while he deals with lower back stiffness. Ubaldo Jimenez was moved up one day to replace Norris and Wright will be inserted into Tillman's spot.

Wright was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday when reliever Jason Garcia was put on the disabled list. The 6-foot-6 right-hander went 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in six starts for the Tides, striking out 30 in 30 2-3 innings.

"He's another one of those guys we think highly of," Showalter said. "He's physically ready to go and hopefully he'll be able to present himself well against a good club."

Wright will be asked to help the Orioles avoid their first home sweep of the season after totaling two runs - both on homers - in the first two games of this series. Baltimore was held to three hits in Saturday's 6-1 loss as Los Angeles (19-17) did all its scoring after the sixth inning on en route to its fifth straight win.

Mike Trout and David Freese homered for the Angels, who received another strong pitching performance. Matt Shoemaker allowed three hits over seven innings, lowering the team's ERA during the win streak to 1.15. The bullpen has tossed 12 scoreless innings in that stretch, yielding five hits and striking out 14 without a walk.

''Our pitching staff has been great,'' catcher Chris Iannetta said. ''It has really been picking up our offense.''

A 3-8 slide has dropped the Orioles four games under .500 for the first time since 2011. They are batting .218 and averaging 3.0 runs in those 11 contests.

"We're just not getting the timely hits right now,'' said Steve Pearce, who homered Saturday. ''We've been hitting. We just have not been scoring runs. It's one of those things that's happened to be going against us all year.''

Adam Jones is hitting .236 with four RBIs in May after batting .400 with 19 RBIs in April. This has also been a poor month for Chris Davis (.180), Alejandro De Aza (.154) and Caleb Joseph (.195).

Generating offense won't be any easier against Richards (3-1, 2.27 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last four starts and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Sunday against Houston. He eventually allowed one run and four walks over 6 2-3 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 3-1 victory.

''I've put in a lot of time this offseason, and from day one, I knew that I was going to be back within a month or so,'' Richards said. ''And I've been moving in the right direction.''

The right-hander has never fared well against the Orioles, however, posting an 8.74 ERA and yielding four homers in two starts. Jones is 3 for 8 with a home run against Richards.

Los Angeles' Erick Aybar is batting .409 over his last 12 games and was moved into the cleanup spot Saturday. He went 1 for 4 with a run but the Angels' No. 4 spot hasn't produced an RBI in 12 games.


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