With just about as much momentum as they could possibly have, the Orioles play their first home series coming off a three game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Orioles’ sweep of the Rays was impressive, but what’s more impressive is how they won each game: stellar starting pitching, timely hitting and outstanding defense. They will look to carry their well rounded game into the three game series with the Detroit Tigers.
Game 1: Monday, April 4th at 3:05 pm – RHP Rick Porcello vs. RHP Jake Arrieta
The Orioles already saw Chris Tillman and Zach Britton follow up Jeremy Guthrie’s 8 shutout innings with 12 more impressive innings, where they limited the Rays to just one run. Now Jake Arrieta, another young arm, has the chance to build on the 20 innings of 1 run ball the Orioles’ starters have put up so far.
Rick Porcello, who’s coming off disappointing 2010 where he saw his ERA jump from 3.96 in 2009 to 4.92, will take the mound for the Tigers.
Game 2: Wednesday, April 6th at 7:05 pm – RHP Justin Verlander vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie
Jeremy Guthrie will try to build off his 8 inning masterpiece that came in the opener against the Rays — one of the best pitching performances of his career. Currently, Guthrie is in the hospital with the flu, though the Orioles continue to say he’ll be ready for the start and the day off on April 5th gives him some extra rest. We’ll monitor him closely.
The O’s hitters will go up against Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander, who is one of the top pitchers in the American League and has been dominant when facing off against the Orioles. In 50 innings pitched against the Birds (7 starts), Verlander has held hitters to a .217 batting average and a .595 OPS with a 2.50 ERA.
Game 3: Sunday, April 7th at 7:05 pm – RHP Brad Penny vs. RHP Chris Tillman
Chris Tillman could not have pitched better in his 2011 debut and is finally showing signs of being the future #2 starter many predicted. His curveball was filthy and his changeup was the best I have ever seen from him. If he can continue to pitch like he did in the opener he’ll prove to be a very consistent starter.
Brad Penny allowed 8 ER in just 4.1 innings in his first start of 2011 and with the O’s bats as hot as they are, Penny could allow them to put up their best run total yet.
The Orioles have a very winnable series ahead of them especially with an easier matchup in the closing game.