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Game 139: Orioles (55-83) @ Yankees (85-53), 1:05pm

Brian Matusz has made nine starts at the major league level this season. In eight of those nine starts, he ended up with an ERA higher than the one with which he started the game. In the one start where he lowered his ERA, he gave up 6 ER in 6.2 IP, lowering his 8.77 ERA to 8.63. It's an impressively depressing string of futility, a period where he's given absolutely no sign that he will ever be a successful or even competent MLB player. All he has to do to bring down that ERA today is merely give up as many runs as innings pitched. I'm sad just having written that sentence.

The task will not be simple, either, because he's going into the belly of the beast (and a beastly belly it is, populated with both Yankees and Yankees fans), facing a New York lineup that trades the top spot daily with Boston depending on who hits and homers more on a given day. That lineup is absurdly superior to the Orioles' in six of nine positions, and mega-prospect Jesus Montero as DH instead of Vlad probably makes it seven.

Matusz has surrendered home runs this season at a ridiculous rate, over 3 per nine innings pitched. The new Yankee Stadium is a bandbox with its short right field porch. This will probably not end well.

That's not even getting into the Yankees starter, Freddy Garcia, who's gone from scrap heap pickup to throwing 122.1 big league innings, during which time he's managed a 3.09 ERA. He'll probably receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million for his trouble thanks to start-based incentives. Garcia has made the Orioles look like the pathetic collection of inferior hitters that they are this season, with his junkballing nonsense getting him to only three runs allowed in 18 innings against the O's.

If you can find any reason for optimism, or even the slightest ray of sunshine about this game, then God bless you. To my jaded eye there is none whatsoever, but then, when the game starts I will have the TV on all the same. Is there something wrong with me? Probably. Happy Labor Day.