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Up next: Orioles

By MARC TOPKIN
Published June 4, 2004

SCOUTING REPORT: The Orioles haven't been doing too well since the Rays saw them in April, losing five of their past eight series and 10 of their past 14 games.

The problem has been a pitching staff that, after a brutal May that included a three-game, 41-run series against the Yankees, ranks as the worst in the American League with a 5.38 team ERA and a league-leading 241 walks. The bullpen has been particularly bad, allowing 45 runs (including nine home runs) in a 13-game stretch and posting a 9.29 ERA .

The offense has been better after an expensive and extensive overhaul with the addition of Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez, though the team home run leader is Melvin Mora. The Orioles rank first in the AL in batting average but in the bottom half in doubles, triples and home runs.

New manager Lee Mazzilli likes to put the offense in motion, and the Orioles lead the AL with 51 steals and have an 80 percent success rate.

CONNECTIONS: Rays catcher Brook Fordyce spent 31/2 seasons with the Orioles. ... Rays manager Lou Piniella made his big-league debut for the Orioles in 1964.

SEASON SERIES: The teams have split six games this season. The Rays leads the overall series 51-49.

[Last modified June 3, 2004, 23:59:12]

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