7:07 PM EDT
May 29, 2012
Baltimore Orioles (29-20) at Toronto Blue Jays (25-24), 7:07 p.m. (ET)
(Sports Network) - Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero said after his last outing that he has never had these type of control problems before in his career.
Toronto hopes that the left-hander can work past his issues this evening and secure a quick series victory over the struggling Baltimore Orioles.
Romero has walked at least five batters in three of his past four outings and has issued 37 free passes in 65 1/3 innings this season. His struggles hit a new low last week in a loss to the Rays as Romero issued a career-high seven walks in six frames of a no-decision.
The 27-year-old allowed just two hits, but was charged with four runs while striking out seven in his club's 5-4 loss, which came five days after Romero beat the Mets with six innings of one-run ball. He did walk four in that victory, but sits at 5-1 with a 3.86 earned run average through 10 starts despite his struggles.
"I can't explain it, I'm frustrated," Romero told Toronto's official website after last week's game. "I just have to keep working. The game takes a lot out of you -- mentally more than physically -- and it's gotten its toll on me, because I'm trying to fix things and it's just not going my way."
Romero doesn't need to fix much when facing the Orioles. He is 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 career starts against them with 71 strikeouts and 28 walks in 87 innings of work.
The Orioles go with their struggling ace in Jake Arrieta, who is winless in his past four starts, posting an 0-3 mark and 7.15 ERA in that span.
The right-hander did hurl seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision at Washington on May 18, but was touched for four runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 2/3 frames of a 6-5 loss versus Boston on Wednesday.
"It's just a little frustrating to go out there and have that kind of stuff and just not being able to command it early in the game," Arrieta said. "But we were still in a good position. I was still able to get in the sixth and have a shot to even come out in the seventh."
Arrieta, Baltimore's Opening Day starter, fell to 2-5 with a 4.87 ERA in 10 starts this season. He does hold a 3-1 mark and 3.80 ERA in four career starts versus the Blue Jays.
Toronto posted only its second victory in seven meetings with Baltimore this season by taking last night's opener 6-2. Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison worked a career-high seven scoreless innings, striking out nine.
Hutchison worked around three hits and three walks and Baltimore didn't score until getting two runs off Francisco Cordero in the ninth inning. Casey Janssen bailed out Cordero to record his fourth save of the season.
"He was hitting the corners," Baltimore's Mark Reynolds said of Hutchison. "I think when he did make mistakes we didn't really capitalize on them."
Kelly Johnson drove in three runs on a two-run homer and a pair of doubles, while Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run homer as Toronto snapped a five-game losing streak.
Tommy Hunter was rocked for six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits in just three-plus innings of work in the loss, while Reynolds added an RBI double after being activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game. He had been out since May 11 with a strained left oblique.
Adam Jones, who on Sunday signed a six-year contract extension through the 2018 season, extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, but the Orioles lost their third straight and for the sixth time in eight games.
They remained tied with the Rays for first place in the American League East, while the Blue Jays pulled to within four games of the top spot.