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09/03/08 1:27 AM ET

Cormier stepping in for O's in finale

Baltimore (63-75) at Boston (81-57), Wednesday, 1:35 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE -- There are going to be growing pains. Forty-three walks and 55 earned runs allowed in their past five games, it has become obvious that pitching -- and the Orioles' relatively inexperienced staff -- have become the root of the club's late-season issues.

But up until this point in the season, staff ace Jeremy Guthrie had consistently taken the mound every time his turn came up in the rotation and more often than not provided a quality, lengthy outing for the Orioles. That streak will come to an end on Wednesday as Baltimore has opted to skip Guthrie's start this week due to the right-hander being hampered by a case of dead arm. Guthrie has already thrown 183 2/3 innings this season, a career-high for the 29-year-old.

Luckily, the Orioles don't expect Guthrie to miss more than just the one start, good news for a team who's search for starting pitching might be reaching its breaking point.

"There's no consideration for doing anything but missing one start," manager Dave Trembley said prior to Tuesday night's 14-2 loss to the Red Sox. "After that, I would expect that he would be on six days instead of five. I will try to give him the extra day every time I possible can until the end of the season. I think he has earned that."

The move puts the Orioles, once again, in a position where they are forced to name a starter for the next day's game just the night before and, in this instance, must sacrifice a reliever for a spot start. It all potentially adds up to another long day on the mound for the Orioles' pitching staff.

Getting the call this time will be long-reliever Lance Cormier, who has not yet started a game this season for Baltimore. He has, however, been called upon to serve as the starter for the O's two suspended games this season: first against the Blue Jays on July 24 and again against the White Sox on Aug. 25. In those two appearances, the right-hander lasted 1 2/3 innings in each game, allowing two earned runs against Toronto and was scoreless against Chicago.

Cormier has been stretched out to four innings once this season, on June 28 in relief against the Nationals, but hasn't pitched more than two innings since that outing. Trembley said on Tuesday night that he had no expectations for Cormier's longevity on Wednesday afternoon.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Lance Cormier (2-3, 4.61 ERA)
Making the spot start in place of Guthrie, Cormier will be tabbed for his first start of the season. The right-hander last pitched Saturday, allowing the Rays two runs in two-thirds of an inning. In the month of August, Cormier worked 15 innings, allowing 11 earned runs off 24 hits and eight walks.

BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2, 2.82 ERA)
Dice-K pitched perhaps his most well-rounded game on Friday against the White Sox, blanking Chicago on just two hits and two walks. While he often battles high pitch counts by the fifth inning, Matsuzaka only threw 103 pitches in eight full innings of work. He orchestrated six innings where he faced the minimum three batters. In the process, Dice-K snagged his team-leading 16th win on the year.

Bird bites
The Orioles' loss on Tuesday night marked the fifth straight losing series for Baltimore. ... The Orioles allowed a season-high 20 hits on Tuesday night, along with eight walks. ... Tuesday night's 14-2 loss to the Red Sox marked the third time this season the Orioles allowed at least 14 runs.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Orioles (Chris Waters, 2-1, 5.45) vs. Athletics (Kirk Saarloos, 1-0, 5.40), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 8-8, 5.24) vs. Athletics (Greg Smith, 6-14, 4.23), 1:05 p.m. ET

Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.