Orioles-Twins Preview

The Baltimore Orioles may have a little extra incentive as they

try to complete their first four-game sweep in Minnesota.

Following the untimely death of a franchise great, the Orioles

meet the Twins on Thursday afternoon.

During Wednesday’s 6-1 win, Baltimore announced that former

pitcher Mike Flanagan was found dead outside his Maryland home at

the age of 59. Flanagan, a color commentator for the Orioles’

television network, went 23-9 in 1979 en route to winning the AL Cy

Young Award and was a member of Baltimore’s 1983 World Series

winning team.

Flanagan was 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA in 18 seasons with

Baltimore and Toronto.

“The Orioles lost a real source of wisdom, and it’s just hard to

imagine not getting to see him now and then,” manager Buck

Showalter said, fighting back tears.

Baltimore (50-77) has taken three straight in Minnesota for the

first time since September 1999. The Twins have never been swept in

a four-game set by the Orioles since relocating from Washington

starting in 1961.

Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10, 5.44 ERA) will try to finish the sweep for

Baltimore.

In his only career appearance against Minnesota on May 14 while

with Toronto, Reyes gave up three runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings

of the Blue Jays’ 9-3 win in 11.

Since joining the Orioles off waivers Aug. 2, the left-hander

has been reached for 10 runs in 15 innings. Reyes put Baltimore in

a 4-0 hole after just 12 pitches Friday en route to an 8-3 defeat

to Los Angeles.

“He’s obviously got to be better than that early on,” Showalter

said.

Minnesota has totaled three runs during a four-game skid while

continuing to sink in the AL Central. On July 28, the defending

two-time division champions were six games behind first-place

Detroit, but they’ve since gone 6-19 – and 0-17 when scoring four

runs or less – to fall 15 games back.

The Twins (55-74) may be without right fielder Michael Cuddyer,

who left in the first inning Wednesday after being hit in the left

wrist by a pitch. Cuddyer leads Minnesota with 18 homers and 61

RBIs.

Jim Thome, reportedly claimed on waivers by an unnamed team

Wednesday, has struggled for the Twins since hitting his 600th home

run. In his last six games, Thome is 3 for 17 with a homer, two

RBIs and nine strikeouts.

Looking to win three straight starts for the first time in more

than a year, Francisco Liriano (9-9, 4.85) will take the ball for

Minnesota.

After struggling through six innings in a 9-6 win at Detroit on

Aug. 15, the left-hander had one of his better outings Saturday

against New York. He surrendered one unearned run and three hits

over seven innings of a 9-4 victory.

“It’s been a tough year. Been up and down. I have to be more

consistent,” said Liriano, who hasn’t won three starts in a row

since a four-game stretch July 16-Aug. 1, 2010.

Liriano won at Baltimore on April 18 and is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA

in his career against the Orioles.

Adam Jones, who is 0 for 9 in his last three games, is 2 for 7

with a solo homer against Liriano while Vladimir Guerrero – a late

scratch Wednesday with a left wrist contusion – is 1 for 9.