Play It Again

April 09, 2009|By JEFF ZREBIEC

Nick of time

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is an admitted slow starter, compiling a .247 average in March and April and a .257 average in May over his first three seasons. However, through two games, he seems intent on shedding that label. He went 3-for-3 on Wednesday: hitting an RBI double in the first, a single in the third, a two-run homer in the fourth and walking in the sixth. He's 5-for-7 with five RBIs this season.

Where's the beef?

Though two games is far too few to make a determination, the New York's highly touted rotation hasn't made a good first impression. Following CC Sabathia's clunker on Opening Day, Chien-Ming Wang allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. Yankees starters have allowed 13 earned runs, 17 hits and eight walks; they haven't struck out a batter in eight innings. New York pitchers didn't strike a batter out in the series before Edwar Ramirez got Felix Pie in the fifth Wednesday.

On deck

Alfredo Simon will make his second career start in the series finale against the Yankees at 1:35 p.m. Thursday. Right-hander A.J. Burnett will make his Yankees debut.

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