KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No one would blame Bob Milacki and Bret Saberhagen if they called in sick tonight.
If the last three games between the Orioles and Royals are any indication, then tonight's game (8:35, Channel 2) won't be designed to improve the earned run averages of the starting pitchers.
Those three games have taken a combined 13 hours and 43 minutes to play, lasted a total of 37 innings and produced 105 hits and 53 runs. Needless to say, the starting pitchers didn't enjoy much success.
That can't be very encouraging for the two managers either, because the Orioles and Royals did a thorough job going through their bullpens last night. That only puts added pressure on tonight's starters, who may be forced to hang around for lack of relief.
Milacki (5-3, 4.01) will be making his first start since combining with Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson on a no-hitter against the Oakland A's last Saturday. The big righthander, showing signs of regaining his 1989 form, will be going after his third straight win.
Saberhagen (6-4, 3.40) will be making his second start since coming off the disabled list.
The Orioles need a win tonight to record a .500 road trip. They previously split four-game series in New York and Oakland, sandwiched around the All-Star Game, and a two-game set in California.
Following tonight's game the Orioles will return home, where they play nine games in the next 10 days against the three West Coast teams. Seattle will visit Memorial Stadium this weekend, followed by California and then Oakland.