The Orioles make the cross-country trek to Anaheim on Tuesday to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are trying to keep the Oakland A's in second place. This is critical series for the Orioles, who will enter the game 8 1/2 games back of Boston in the American League East and 7 1/2 back of the A's in the Wild Card race.

The Orioles will be without Rafael Palmeiro for the next nine games. He was suspended on Monday for his violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and began serving his suspension before Monday's 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The O's now have lost 14 of 16 games and have the second-worst record after the All-Star break to the San Diego Padres.

Sidney Ponson will get the nod for Baltimore. He is coming off a 2 1/3-inning outing on Thursday against Texas when he was forced to leave the game after being hit on the hand by a Sandy Alomar liner. Ponson is healthy enough to pitch although he remains on the trading block.

The O's offense hit .260 on the 1-7 homestand but left 77 runners on base during that stretch. Brian Roberts, once the league's leading hitter, is batting .240 since the break. Miguel Tejada has just 10 RBIs in the past 28 games.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Sidney Ponson
• 7-9, 5.80 ERA in 2005
• 1-1, 1.59 ERA vs. LAA in 2004

LAA: RHP Bartolo Colon
• 12-6, 3.72 ERA in 2005
• 0-1, 9.58 ERA vs. BAL in 2005

Player to watch
Whoever replaces Palmeiro at first base will be the player to watch. The Orioles are expected to make a roster move before Tuesday's game to replace Palmeiro on the 25-man roster.

Quotable
"You guys have watched this game for years, I think you know that answer," -- Right fielder B.J. Surhoff, on whether Mark Buehrle hit him on purpose

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

On television
• LAA: KCAL 9
• BAL: Comcast SportsNet

On radio
• LAA: ESPN 710
• BAL: WBAL 1090

Quick hits
The Orioles were swept in a four-game series for the first time since Aug. 23 to 26, 2004, at Oakland. The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of the past 16 games. ... Surhoff record his first multi-hit game since June 7 at Pittsburgh. It was his fourth three-hit game of the season. ... Monday was Daniel Cabrera's first loss to the White Sox in four starts. He is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA lifetime against Chicago.

On deck
• Wednesday: at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: at Texas, 8:05 p.m. ET