After a bump in the road that had most of us believing the end was nigh, the Orioles have rebounded and have won three straight series and five games in a row. Tonight they'll face a tougher challenge than the Phillies or Pirates, however, as the take on the Atlanta Braves on the road. The third-place Braves sit five game back of the Nationals in the N.L. East and were just swept by the Yankees.
The Orioles were fortunate in their series with the Pirates in that they missed their two best pitchers, A.J. Burnett and James McDonald. They will not be so lucky this weekend as they face Tommy Hanson tonight and phenom Brandon Beachy tomorrow. The O's do miss Tim Hudson in the series, which is nice.
In thirteen starts so far this season, Hanson has pitched to a 3.55 ERA with a worse FIP, 4.20. The good news for the Orioles is that Hanson tends to give up home runs, and the Orioles love to hit home runs.
Starting for the Orioles is Brian Matusz, who was pushed back a few days after he fouled a ball into his nose. Oh, Brian. After putting together a string of respectable starts, Matusz was shelled on June 7th against the Red Sox, giving up five runs in just two innings before being pulled. I'm hopeful that was just an aberration on Matusz's path back to respectability, aren't you? The Braves have more than a few good hitters on their team, so it'll be a test for Matusz.
Here is the lineup for the Orioles: