Orioles-Indians Preview

If a team's momentum is measured by the next day's starting pitcher, the Baltimore Orioles enter Saturday with very little.

Struggling Ubaldo Jimenez faces his former team seeking his first road win of the season as the Orioles and Cleveland Indians continue this three-game series.

A terrific season debut gave the Orioles hope that Jimenez could carry last season's late success into 2016, but he hasn't been able to duplicate that performance.

He's 1-5 with a 6.80 ERA in eight starts since beating Minnesota on April 7, with poor control his biggest issue. Jimenez (2-5, 6.04 ERA) has walked 27 over 43 2/3 innings during that span, including 11 in his last three starts spanning 15 innings.

The right-hander struggled again in Sunday's 10-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, yielding six runs - five in the third - and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings to drop to 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA in three road starts.

"It's always a test every time you aren't there for the team," Jimenez told the team's official website. "I'm the type of guy who will never lose my confidence. I always have it in my mind that things are going to change."

This will be Jimenez's fifth start against his former team since leaving the Indians following the 2013 season. He's gone 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA, though he tossed four-hit ball over eight innings in a 4-0 victory June 28 in the most recent matchup.

Mike Napoli (4 for 13 with two homers) and Juan Uribe (5 for 15) have fared well against Jimenez.

Baltimore's slumbering offense came to life for a 6-4 victory in Friday's series opener to snap a season-high four-game skid. Manny Machado collected four of his team's 13 hits, and Mark Trumbo moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 15th homer after the Orioles (27-19) were held to three runs or fewer in five straight.

Manager Buck Showalter tweaked his lineup after his team struck out 52 times in three consecutive losses in Houston.

''The thing we've been focused on the last four games is Ws and Ls,'' he said. ''We're trying to get to the end of the game having more runs than they got after nine innings.''

Adam Jones, who usually bats third, was moved into the leadoff spot for the first time since 2010, and Machado was dropped from second to third. Jones responded with three hits following a 3-for-37 slump.

''We had four options and this one worked the best,'' Showalter said. ''Things like that you can only do if you trust good players.''

Jose Ramirez had a career-high four hits for Cleveland (25-21), which had a three-game win streak stopped despite home runs from Francisco Lindor and Napoli.

Danny Salazar (4-3, 2.32) would appear to be in good position to rebound from his shortest start of the season given his past success against the Orioles. In two career meetings, the right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA while walking two and striking out 14 in 12 innings.

After posting a 1.80 ERA in his first eight starts, Salazar wasn't sharp Sunday at Boston. He threw 40 pitches in the first inning alone, and eventually allowed four runs and a season-high eight hits over 4 1/3.


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