1st pitch: Positive spin for Orioles, Casilla

Today’s Trivia: Jonathan Papelbon is 0-5 for his career against the Yankees. What former major leaguer, who pitched for both the Red Sox and Yankees in a career that spanned the 60s, 70s, and 80s, is the last Red Sox pitcher to lose six straight games to the Yankees?

Quick Hits:

In honor of the Orioles recent success under Buck Showalter, we present a number of ways to look at Baltimore in a positive light.

• Rookie reliever Alfredo Simon has 16 saves and has a chance (if the Orioles keep winning) at the club rookie record for saves – 27, set by Gregg Olson.

• Outfielder/DH Luke Scott ranks fifth in the American League in at-bats per home run (14.5)

• Reliever Mike Gonzalez has a 2.25 ERA since returning from the DL, holding opponents to a .233 on-base percentage in eight appearances since his return.

• All-Star selection Ty Wigginton has a 1.030 OPS in his last 13 games.

• The Orioles lead the AL in extra-inning wins with eight

• The Orioles have won seven straight games vs AL West opponents

Today’s Leaderboard: Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla, filling in for Orlando Hudson, made a really nice spin to throw out Carl Crawford to end the Twins win over the Rays on Thursday. Casilla has upgraded his defense at second base this year.

Last season, using the Baseball Info Solutions metric +/- (which evaluates how many more/fewer balls a player turned into outs than the average player playing his position), he rated a -16, second-worst among the 35 second basemen who played the most innings. This season, he’s not Hudson, who we’ll spotlight here, but he’s a respectable +3.

Best +/- Rating

Second Basemen in 2010

Orlando Hudson+18

Chase Utley +17

Robinson Cano+15

Sean Rodriguez+14

Brandon Phillips+11

Reid Brignac+11

Key Matchups:

Adam Wainwright owns the Marlns DP combination. Dan Uggla is 2-for-16 against Wainwright with 7 K. Hanley Ramirez is 3-for-18 with 4 K. Of the 55 players who have faced Wainwright at least 15 times, Uggla’s .125 BA is tied for second-worst

Cliff Lee has walked only nine batters all season, but he could face the AL’s No. 2 man in bases-on-balls, Oakland’s Daric Barton today. Barton is 0-for-11 with no walks against Lee, his worst 0-for against any MLB pitcher. Lee has faced 125 lefties, but has not walked a left-handed hitter all season.

• Of the 172 batters that Javier Vazquez has faced 20+ times, Adrian Beltre’s .441 batting average ranks fourth-best.

• Light-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera has an .800 career slugging percentage against Twins starter Francisco Liriano. He’s 5-for-his-last-8 against Liriano and has at least one hit in each of the last five games he’s faced Liriano.

Trivia Answer: Former Red Sox and Yankees pitcher Mike Torrez, who gave up the infamous home run to Bucky Dent in the one-game playoff that decided the AL East title in 1978, lost six straight to the Yankees while with the Red Sox, from 1978 to 1980.