Maybe the Orioles' luck really has changed after all.
In the wake of a desultory 2-4 homestand, the Orioles hit the road for 12 of their next 18 games. They open a four-game series in Anaheim against the California Angels tonight (10:35, ESPN), and the encouraging news is that they won't have to face Chuck Finley, who has a 4-1 career record against Baltimore. The Angels' lefthander pitched -- and suffered his first loss -- against Cleveland on Wednesday. Finley is 4-1 this season.
That means the Orioles will try to get untracked against the likes of Kirk McCaskill (2-2, 2.84 earned run average) tonight, then Mark Langston (1-1, 4.38), Jim Abbott (0-4, 6.00) and Scott Lewis (1-1, 5.24).
Langston had the most trouble against the Orioles a year ago when he went 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA against them, and 24 of the 48 batters he faced reached base.
The Orioles have gone to a four-man rotation in an attempt to remedy their pitching problems and compensate for three off-days in the next 12. Dave Johnson became the odd man out and has gone to the bullpen.
The first order of business will be getting Ben McDonald straightened out. He'll take an 0-1 record and 12.27 ERA into tonight's game. Jeff Robinson (1-2, 4.02) will pitch in tomorrow's 10:05 p.m. game, Jeff Ballard (2-2, 4.40) will throw in Sunday's 5:05 p.m. start, and Jose Mesa (2-3, 2.62) is set for Monday's finale at 10:35 p.m. Channel 2 will carry the games tomorrow and Sunday.
The Orioles won the last four games against California a year ago to win the season series, 7-5. Since then the Angels have added designated hitter Dave Parker (hitting .212 with six RBIs) and third baseman Gary Gaetti (.278, 10 RBI). Although Dave Winfield is in a 5-for-38 slump, he leads the Angels with 14 RBIs.
* WHEN: Today, 10:35 p.m.
(ESPN, WBAL-AM 1090, WTOP-AM 1500)
* WHERE: Anaheim Stadium.
* SEASON SERIES: First game of the season.
* STANDINGS: The Orioles (7-12) are in sixth place in the AL East, four games behind Boston, Toronto and Milwaukee. The Angels (10-11) are in fourth place in the AL West, four games behind Oakland.
* PITCHERS: The Orioles' Ben McDonald (0-1, 12.27) vs. the Angels' Kirk McCaskill (2-2, 2.84).
* EXTRA BASES: The Orioles begin a nine-game trip tonight and will play 12 of their next 18 on the road . . . Weekend pitching matchups: Jeff Robinson (1-2, 4.02) vs. Mark Langston (1-1, 4.38) tomorrow and Jeff Ballard (2-2, 4.40) vs. Jim Abbott (0-4, 6.00) on Sunday . . . The Angels are led by the hot bat of Wally Joyner (22-for-63, .347). Lance Parrish (6-for-43) and Dave Winfield (5-for-38) have been cold at the plate . . . Bill Ripken hit .346 against the Angels last season . . . Glenn Davis and Ben McDonald did not make the trip to Rochester last night. Davis will join the team in California today after spending yesterday with a shoulder specialist in Cleveland.
* EXPRESS CHANGE: Toronto's Roberto Alomar, who struck out to end Nolan Ryan's no-hitter Wednesday, homered to beat Kansas City in sixth inning last night.
* ON ROLL: The Brewers have won six of their last seven games.
* HE'S NO RICKEY: Dodgers third baseman Jeff Hamilton has 1,147 career at-bats, and no stolen bases. He is about to break the Dodgers' record, held by Don Drysdale, a noted speed burner who had 1,169 at-bats and no steals.