Brain Matusz takes the mound for the Orioles. Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft, the 23 year old left hander made his major league debut last year. He faced the Yankees once last September, dominating them in Yankee Stadium to the tune of seven one run innings.
This season, he's pitched in four games and has lasted about six innings and given up three runs in each (give or take a frame or a run) giving him an ERA of 4.38. He's struck out more than one batter per inning and allowed just one home run, so his FIP is a run and a half lower than his ERA.
Matusz isn't overpowering. He throws around 60% fastballs, distributed about equally between his four-seamer and two-seamer, both of which come in around 90mph. His two-seamer rides inside to left handers and away from righties while his four seamer is straighter with a bit of sink. About one out of every 5 pitches is a changeup (in the 83mph area) while one of every 10 is a curveball (about 78mph).
A.J. Burnett gets the call for the Yankees today. Burnett has only allowed one home run so far this year, made possible by a rock bottom HR/FB ratio of 3.8%, compared to his career rate of 10.1%. The other two true outcomes have also come less frequently for A.J. in 2010 as he's walked just 2.8 batters per 9 innings and struck out only 5.7. The only thing he seems to be doing more of than usual is giving up hits (9.9/9IP compared to 7.9).
I'm not one for predictions, but it seems like Burnett is due for a regression-to-the-mean type start. If we went something like 6 innings, gave up two home runs, 4 hits, walked 4 and struck out 8, that would probably do the trick. Hopefully the offense will be there to pick him up.
[Song Notes: The original composition was done by prominent ragtime musician and Baltimore native Eubie Blake all the way back in 1909. The style of piano playing featured in the piece eventually came to be known as "stride", and Eubie was one of the innovators of the technique. Blake was born and raised in Baltimore, but he moved to New York once his career began to take off and lived there until he passed away in Brooklyn at the age of 96. Blake enrolled in NYU when he was in his mid-60's and graduated in 2 1/2 years, frequently appeared on Johnny Carson's and Merv Griffin's shows, was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Regan and had his music and life story adapted into a Broadway show bearing his name.]
Yankees: No Nick Johnson tonight as Marcus Thames fills in at DH and bats 6th against the lefty Matusz. Nick Swisher bats second in Johnson's place while the struggling Curtis Granderson gets the 7th spot, Francisco Cervelli the 8th and Brett Gardner bats second leadoff (9th).
Orioles: After going 2 for 4 last night, Garrett Atkins finds himself back riding the pine this evening as the lefty-hitting Rhyne Hughes gets a crack at A.J. Burnett.
Adam Jones CFNick Markakis RFMatt Weiters CMiguel Tejada 3BLuke Scott DHTy Wigginton 2BRhyne Hughes 1BNolan Reimold LFCeasar Izturis SS