**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles begin a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***
BALTIMORE — Something has to give.
Mired in a seven-game losing streak that’s dropped them to third place and two games below .500, the Baltimore Orioles (6-8) return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to open a 10-game home stand against the last-place Minnesota Twins (5-10) tonight at 7:05.
With both teams struggling to score runs and ranking among the worst teams in baseball offensively, Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.30 ERA) and Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano (0-3, 9.42 ERA) have to be treating tonight as an opportunity to right themselves after severe struggles to begin the 2011 campaign. Liriano’s struggles have raised more eyebrows as the lefty went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 2010.
Both lineups for tonight’s opener possess two players hitting above .250: Denard Span (.339) and Jason Kubel (.321) for Minneosta and Brian Roberts (.267) and Vladimir Guerrero (.259) for Baltimore. As anemic as the Orioles lineup has looked in the first two weeks of the season, the Twins have scored six fewer runs and have yet to win a series this season.
Sounds like the right recipe to break out, but then again, the Twins are probably having similar thoughts looking across the field at the other lineup.
The Orioles have selected the contract of left-handed reliever Clay Rapada and placed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas on the 15-day disabled list with an injured groin. Rapada did not allow a run in two appearances with Triple-A Norfolk and gives the Orioles another lefty in the bullpen to complement the struggling Michael Gonzalez.
To clear room on the 40-man roster, injured pitcher Justin Duchscherer was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, creating even more doubt as to whether the veteran will make any significant contribution to the Orioles after signing a one-year contract in the offseason.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
CF Denard Span
2B Matt Tolbert
RF Jason Kubel
DH Jim Thome
LF Delmon Young
1B Michael Cuddyer
3B Danny Valencia
C Drew Butera
SS Alexi Casilla
SP Francisco Liriano
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
3B Mark Reynolds
CF Adam Jones
LF Jake Fox
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino
SP Chris Tillman
As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!