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GameThread: Tigers (80-80) @ Orioles (65-95), 7:05pm

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In the dark days of April, when Orioles radio broadcaster announced at the end of yet another loss that he was ready for a straitjacket, it seemed impossible that this season could possibly end on a positive note. From the genial incompetence of Dave Trembley through the brutal early summer with Juan "The Windmill" Samuel (whose spirit continues to haunt the third base coaching box now), we endured some soul-crushing stretches of baseball. Without any context, sitting here with a 65-95 record doesn't look so good, until you remember that the O's have gone 33-22 under Buck Showalter to get to this point - a record which actually has more wins than last year with the possibility for two more still.

Coming off yesterday's sweep of the doubleheader, the O's will be looking to continue winning in the last series of the year behind the efforts of starter Brian Matusz. There've been games where he's taken his lumps this year, but of all the young starters, he's looked the most like the one who is figuring out this whole pitching in the big leagues thing, to the point where an outside-the-box baseball analyst like ESPN's Keith Law has talked how he would have to think about Matusz for the AL Rookie of the Year award. It's not hard to see why, with Matusz having recorded 56 innings in August and September, striking out 43 while only walking 14, with only three HR surrendered. Other Orioles starters have been shining in their final 2010 starts, so hopefully Matusz can continue that trend. This will be his first look at the Tigers this season.

Pitching for Detroit is Armando Galarraga, and we already know why he's famous. He's given up 17 runs in his last 13.2 innings pitched, which spans only three starts. But his last good start was against the O's on September 10 when he went seven innings and gave up three runs. Detroit lost the game thanks to a bad bullpen day, but Galarraga kept them in it. The only extra-base hits given up were to Jake Fox, who hits well in Detroit and presumably doesn't hit well anywhere else.

The Orioles got 22 hits between both games yesterday. What would be great is if that offensive juggernaut could keep rolling, rather than the team deciding they've reached their quota. And maybe if they get a lot of hits in this game, they could actually score some runs, or at least GIDP less than four times. That would be great. Baseball's almost over for Baltimore fans, but here's hoping we can send the season off with a sweep.

Go O's!


Lineup

Detroit Tigers @ Baltimore Orioles

10/02/10 7:05 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers Baltimore Orioles
Austin Jackson - CF Corey Patterson - LF
Ramon Santiago - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Ryan Raburn - LF Jake Fox - DH
Jhonny Peralta - SS Luke Scott - 1B
Casper Wells - RF Felix Pie - CF
Brandon Inge - 3B Ty Wigginton - 3B
Don Kelly - 1B Matt Wieters - C
Scott Sizemore - DH Robert Andino - 2B
Max St. Pierre - C Cesar Izturis - SS