08/19/10 9:04 PM ET
Arrieta wants to continue rotation's strong run
By Sunil Joshi / MLB.com
Baltimore is 11-6 since Showalter took over as manager, with three series victories. Following their win on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Rangers, the Orioles will look to earn at least a split on Friday with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the hill. He'll be opposed by Texas left-hander C.J. Wilson.
The Orioles' surge has been fueled in large part by their pitchers. Baltimore starters have collected 13 quality starts under Showalter, posting a 2.82 ERA. Left-hander Brian Matusz continued the club's torrid run in the series opener, when he threw eight shutout innings in a 4-0 win. Arrieta, a rookie, has thrown two quality starts under Showalter in three outings, including his most recent appearance, when he threw six innings against the Rays, allowing three runs. He settled in after a 30-pitch third inning, at one point retiring 10 of 11 batters.
"Later in the game, I really trusted my fastball ... was aggressive with [it] and used it early and late in the count, [which is] something I really didn't do a good job of early in the game," Arrieta said. "But I got back to it as I got a little more comfortable."
Wilson will be trying to reverse a career-long trend of struggling against the Orioles. He has a 7.15 ERA in 18 appearances against Baltimore, and he struggled with his command in his last against the Orioles, when he allowed five walks in 4 2/3 innings of a 4-1 loss on July 11. Still, Wilson righted the ship following that start and is coming off a strong appearance in his most recent outing, when he held the Red Sox to four hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings while fanning eight.
"Outstanding," said Taylor Teagarden, who caught Wilson's game against the Red Sox. "From the moment he came into the clubhouse, he was focused and determined. He had a great game plan and executed his pitches. He got ahead of hitters and was always attacking. That allowed us to get an early lead and then later take control of the game."
The Orioles won the first two series of the season against the Rangers, both of which were played in Texas, and has a 5-2 record in head-to-head matchups this season. This is the final series between the clubs in 2010.
Rangers: Young's return could help snap skid
The Rangers have dropped four games in a row, including Thursday's blanking. But they got good news prior to the game, when third baseman Michael Young returned to the lineup after sitting back-to-back days with neck pain. He batted second and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
"I knew it wasn't going to keep me out for long," Young said. "It was just a matter of getting it loose enough. I don't care if it hurts -- I just want it loose enough so I can move around."
Young is hitting .288 for the season, with 19 home runs.
Orioles: There's something about Koji
Baltimore right-hander Koji Uehara has been dominant of late. Including the scoreless inning Uehara threw in the series opener against the Rangers, he has allowed one earned run in 17 innings dating to July 9. He's struck out 19 batters during that span.
Uehara appears fully recovered from hamstring and elbow injuries that twice forced him to the disabled list earlier in the campaign. He didn't make his season debut until May 6, then was sidelined again from May 19 to June 29.
"It looks to me like he's fully back to where he should be," said Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz. "We have no concerns of using him back-to-back nights, maybe a multiple-inning night. He's shown the ability to do that."
Matusz's quality start on Thursday was the Orioles' 57th of the season, equaling the club's 2009 mark. Baltimore took 122 games to reach the figure this season; last year, it took 157 games. ... Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler will undergo an MRI on Monday on his strained right groin muscle. Kinsler was sidelined with the malady on July 29. ... Texas right-hander Rich Harden threw six innings on Wednesday in a rehabilitation start with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Harden, out since Aug. 8, is recovering from tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. ... Showalter managed the Rangers for four seasons from 2003-06. He compiled a 319-329 record at Texas' helm.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.