The Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles will meet for the first time this season this weekend at Camden Yards. Cleveland is in clear rebuilding mode after dumping Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez before the trade deadline last season. The Indians haven’t produced much on offense, scoring just 118 runs, but their pitching has been solid with a 4.09 ERA.
In addition to a new manager, Manny Acta, Cleveland is breaking in a new catcher, Lou Marson who was acquired in the Lee trade with Philadelphia and a few new pitchers like Justin Masterson who was part of the Martinez trade with Boston. Masterson will start Friday night for Cleveland. Masterson is 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA. He will face Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie (1-4, 4.67) is coming off of his first win. He beat Francisco Liriano and the Twins in his last outing in Saturday’s first game of the doubleheader. It was his best outing of the season as he went 6.2 innings allowing just three runs, five hits and one walk. It was clearly his best start of the season and he will look to repeat that performance against a team that always seem to give the Orioles trouble.
In the second on Saturday night, Brian Matusz (2-3, 4.91) will take the hill coming off his worst outing of the season. Matusz last pitched Sunday and allowed six earned runs in 3.1 innings against Minnesota. His opponent will be Mitch Talbot. Talbot (4-2, 3.43) earned a win against the Tigers in his last start even though he was less than stellar, allowing four runs in five innings. The Orioles tend to have trouble with pitchers they haven’t seen before, so Saturday could be a challenge.
To conclude the series, Baltimore will send David Hernandez to the mound to oppose Jake Westbrook. Hernandez (0-5, 5.84) has struggled lately, but that hasn’t been the whole story. When Hernandez is pitching, it appears the Birds’ offense goes silent. He had a rough outing Tuesday night against the Mariners, allowing five runs (four earned), including a home run and four walks, in 5.2 innings. Sunday afternoon could be his last chance to remain in the starting rotation. Westbrook (1-2, 5.06) will be making his eighth start since having Tommy John surgery last season. This could be a very wild game for the bats, or it could be on the other end of the spectrum and be very low-scoring. Either way, expect anything to happen in this game.
Baltimore could easily win the series if the bats break out of their slumber. The pitching hasn’t been terrible for Baltimore this year and Cleveland’s offense has scuffled as well this season. For the middle series of this homestand, Baltimore will try and get a couple wins.