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GameThread: Angels (54-54) @ Orioles (33-73), 7:05pm

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The sun is shining brighter in Birdland today after last night's victory in new manager Buck Showalter's inaugural game. That may have something to do with a solar flare from Sunday, but I'm saying that baseball gets to claim credit for it in actuality. Correlation equals causation, right? Let's throw out all that messiness of losing 73 of our first 105 games. Never mind that if we ended the season by running the table we still wouldn't make the playoffs. A new sheriff's in town and he's watching. We're starting to sign our high draft picks and we're riding a one-game winning streak in the first August in a while that suckers like me believe won't actually be completely terrible.

Under the microscope tonight will be young starter Brian Matusz, who's had a bit of a rough time lately. He hasn't pitched a good game in a month, when he threw seven shutout innings against Boston. Fangraphs helpfully gives us a FIP of 4.49 for Brian, nearly a full point lower than his ERA, probably not helped by a BABIP of .326 so far on the season, but probably also not helped by walking nearly 4 batters per nine innings. Of course, Buck probably can't unlock his potential magically in one single game, but hopefully he can put on a good showing for the new boss.

Taking the mound for the Angels will be Ervin Santana, who has 25 more strikeouts than any Orioles pitcher. Remember when we could have gotten him as part of a package for Miguel Tejada? Yeah, about that... okay, okay, enough of that. Negativity is banished for today. On a positive note, LAAAOCCAUSA are 3-9 in their last 12 games and we saw some of why last night with a couple of bad outfield throws and a pair of errors, to say nothing of the ugly tent their manager wears in lieu of a uniform.

A win tonight would seal a series win with Dan Haren lurking tomorrow and send the Angels below .500 for the first time since June 2. Bring it on. Go O's!


Lineup

Los Angeles Angels @ Baltimore Orioles

08/04/10 7:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels Baltimore Orioles
Erick Aybar - SS Brian Roberts - 2B
Maicer Izturis - 3B Nick Markakis - RF
Bobby Abreu - DH Ty Wigginton - 1B
Torii Hunter - RF Luke Scott - DH
Howie Kendrick - 2B Adam Jones - CF
Juan Rivera - LF Felix Pie - LF
Mike Napoli - 1B Matt Wieters - C
Jeff Mathis - C Josh Bell - 3B
Peter Bourjos - CF Cesar Izturis - SS

Hey... is that the same lineup two nights in a row? What a concept!