O's set to tackle another tough opponent

O's set to tackle another tough opponent

BALTIMORE -- One playoff contender leaves town, and another one's knocking on the door. The Orioles have to be thrilled to say farewell to the Yankees, who have beaten them 10 straight times, but now they have to deal with the Rangers. Texas is banging on the door in its division and in the Wild Card race, giving the Orioles a chance to play the spoiler.

Baltimore will even have a day off before Friday's series opener, a breather that may prove important in washing a sour taste out of the team's collective mouth. The Orioles forced the Yankees into save situations in each of the first two games of the series and saw a one-run deficit balloon into an eight-run loss in the ninth inning of the finale.

"I think we all have to handle it the very best that we can and give credit where credit is due," said manager Dave Trembley. "They have a tremendous team. And we tried to do everything that we possibly can, and our guys give everything they can, and it just has not been measured up and allowed us to get a win."

The Orioles are 3-4 against the Rangers this season, winning a series on the road and dropping a four-game set at home earlier in the year. Baltimore will get to set up its pitching in ideal fashion, starting the Rangers with prized rookies Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz and finishing them off with veteran Jeremy Guthrie.

Baltimore is now 14-32 since the All-Star break and rests a season-worst 26 games below .500. The Orioles will face Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Boston again after the Texas series, a buzzsaw of a slate that will take them right into late September.

That's why, in one veteran's mind, it's hard to get too down over a 10-game skid against any given team.

"It's more frustrating when you're 30 games behind," said Melvin Mora. "We can get beat by Cleveland 10 times, but when you look at the newspaper and you see you're 30 games behind, it's just not a good feeling."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Chris Tillman (1-2, 4.24 ERA)
Tillman, one of the Orioles' top pitching prospects, has one victory and four no-decisions in his first seven big league starts. However, the rookie is slowly showing that he's getting acclimated to his new surroundings -- in each of his past four starts, he's allowed one fewer earned run, capping off the impressive string by surrendering only one run in a rain-shortened five-inning outing against the Indians on Saturday.

TEX: RHP Scott Feldman (14-4, 3.72 ERA)
Feldman will be going for his sixth straight victory. He was 5-0 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts in August. He is also going for his seventh consecutive victory on the road. He is 10-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 13 games, including 12 starts, on the road this season. Only two other Rangers pitchers have won 11 games on the road in a single season. Feldman is 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA in six games, including two starts, against the Orioles in his career.

Bird bites
The Orioles have been outscored, 70-30, over the life of their skid against New York. The last time they lost as many as 10 straight to the Yankees was all the way back in 1955. ... Baltimore used eight pitchers in Wednesday night's loss, setting a season high. ... Two Orioles prospects -- Brandon Waring and Zach Britton of Class A Frederick -- were named the Carolina League's Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. ... The Orioles are 37-31 when they score first but have lost two straight games under those circumstances. They are 17-49 when their opponent draws first blood. ... The Orioles are 48-32 when they score four or more runs and 6-48 when they score fewer than four. ... Baltimore is 7-59 when it is outhit by its opponents and 43-13 when it has more hits.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN 2

On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Saturday: Orioles (Brian Matusz, 3-2, 5.28) vs. Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 10-8, 3.61), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 9-13, 5.18) vs. Rangers (Derek Holland, 7-9, 5.63), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.