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Series Preview: 4/10-4/12 Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles

4/10: Andy Sonnanstine vs. Mark Hendrickson (7:05 Sun Sports)

4/11: Jeff Niemann vs. Jeremy Guthrie (7:05 Sun Sports)

4/12: James Shields vs. Adam Eaton (1:35 FSN Florida)

Don't be confused by the Orioles so-so rotation this season. This organization has pitching depth in the minors that rivals the Rays. Erik Bedard is a good pitcher, but the Orioles absolutely robbed Bill Bavasi blind between the pitchers, George Sherrill, and perhaps the second best centerfielder in the AL East, Adam Jones.

I'm sure everyone remembers Hendrickson, affectionately nicknamed Lurch. His three and a half seasons with the Rays are likely regarded as awful, but he was right around average each season when judged by FIP. Lurch primarily uses his fastball, throwing the mid-to-upper 80s "heater" around 60% of the time. He'll also use a curveball against lefties and a change-up to righties, each about 15% of the time. Lurch is gopher ball ridden - this spells well for a certain right-handed hitter acquired in the off-season.

Guthrie is a lot like Lurch, only short and throws right-handed. Heavy fastball usage (sits in the 92-94 range, although last year was down to 91-93), a slider, a change, and to a far lesser extent a curveball. All told, Guthrie only got hitters to swing out of the zone 22.2% of the time last year, compared to a MLB average of 26.2%. He's also homer prone, meaning Carlos Pena could have some fun Saturday night.

Yeah, I had no idea Adam Eaton was still around either. He certainly fits the mold though. Homerun bound, ~4.5-4.9 FIP and cheap. He too uses his fastball around 60% of the time, but also throws a cutter, slider, change, and curveball. Over the last few years Eaton has been iffy on swinging strikes, which suggests most of his pitches are nothing more than junk. His velocity was down last year, although it could rebound to the 91-93 range again.

Starting Lineup:

C Gregg Zaun

1B Aubrey Huff

2B Brian Roberts

SS Cesar Izturis

3B Melvin Mora

LF Felix Pie

CF Adam Jones

RF Nick Markakis

DH Luke Scott/Ty Wigginton

Underrated lineup alert.

Zaun is a placeholder for Matt Wieters - who was struck out on three pitches by Mitch Talbot yesterday. (Take that, haters!) You know Huff, Roberts, and Mora. Izturis isn't much of an offensive threat, although he's pretty solid defensively. Speaking of defense, that outfield is insane. Jones is ridiculous, Pie is great in the corner, and Markakis is above average as well.

In the pen, you have Danys Baez, Matt Albers, Brian Bass, Jim Johnson, Dennis Sarfate, Jamie Walker, Chris Ray, and George Sherrill. As for those on the bench; Chad Moeller, Robert Andino, and Ryan Freel.