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Trembley recalls Smoltz's early years

Trembley recalls Smoltz's early years

BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley can remember a time before John Smoltz was a big league pitcher.

"[It was] 1987, back in the Eastern League, when he was pitching at Glens Falls," Trembley said, chuckling before Monday's game against the Red Sox. "He was throwing about 99 [mph], but it was halfway up the backstop every time and he was about 18 or 19. I said, 'That guy's going to pitch in the big leagues.'"

More than 20 years and 200 wins later, Trembley's prediction holds true, as Smoltz is still throwing pitches in the Majors.

On Tuesday, Smoltz will start for the Red Sox as they take on the Orioles.

Tuesday's start will be just the second this year for Smoltz, whis is coming off right shoulder surgery. On Wednesday against Washington, Smoltz went five innings and gave up five runs on seven hits in a 9-3 loss.

He'll look to lower his 9.00 ERA against an Orioles team that is searching for consistency as it returns from Interleague Play. Despite posting a 11-7 mark against the National League this season, tied for the franchise's best, the O's haven't been able to transfer that success over long periods.

The Orioles took five of six against the Mets and Phillies, including a three-game sweep of Philadelphia on the road, before being swept by Florida, then taking two out of three against the Nationals to close out Interleague Play.

Baltimore's bats are starting to come around, however. Six O's have hitting streaks of three or more games, including Ty Wigginton, who is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak. During that stretch, Wigginton is hitting .467 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Wigginton and the rest of the offense will look to continue that success against Smoltz, who is 1-1 lifetime with a 4.37 ERA against Baltimore. He also has registered three saves against the Orioles over his career.

Smoltz's last start against the O's came back in 2005. The right-hander threw a complete game, allowing just one run as the Braves won, 8-1. At that time, the Orioles were fighting at the top of the American League East. Following that loss to Smoltz, Baltimore lost seven of its next 10 games to fall four games out of first. It would eventually miss the playoffs.

"He's a warrior," Trembley said, "and a big game pitcher. I'd love to talk to him. He's got to be one tough son of a gun, mentally, to be able to come back from the injuries that he's had and be so successful in one area and then another. The guy's a horse."

Pitching matchup
BAL: LHP Rich Hill (3-2, 6.03 ERA)
Hill has been highly erratic this season and hasn't completed five innings in four of his last six starts, but the Orioles appear committed to this reclamation project. Hill struck out the side on 10 pitches in the first inning of his previous start, but then he allowed a pair of two-run homers in the next two innings. For Hill to be successful, he has to mix his pitches and locate within the strike zone.

BOS: RHP John Smoltz (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Following days of buildup, Smoltz's first Major League start in more than a year -- and his first for any team besides the Braves -- turned out to be a disappointment. The right-hander gave up four runs in the first inning en route to a loss to the Nationals. On the positive side, Smoltz settled down nicely after the rough opening inning. He wound up allowing seven hits and five runs over five innings, throwing 92 pitches. Smoltz has never started a game at Camden Yards, but he did earn saves in both of his career appearances there.

Tidbits
The Orioles had just two runners in scoring position Monday. Catcher Matt Wieters reached second base in the sixth inning, and Wigginton was left at second in the ninth. ... Boston's Jon Lester improved to 8-0 lifetime against the Orioles with a 2.18 ERA. ... The Orioles are 10-17 this season against the AL East and 0-5 against the Red Sox.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN HD

On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Wednesday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 5-2, 3.76) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 9-3, 3.48), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 6-7, 5.11) at Angels (John Lackey, 2-3, 5.06), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (David Hernandez, 1-2, 4.19) at Angels (Matt Palmer, 7-1, 5.16), 10:05 p.m. ET

Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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