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Series Preview: 4/6-4/8 Baltimore Orioles @ Tampa Bay Rays

Brian Matusz: A Young Lefty Worth Knowing
Brian Matusz: A Young Lefty Worth Knowing

4/6 RHP Kevin Millwood vs. RHP James Shields

4/7 RHP Jeremy Guthrie vs. RHP Matt Garza

4/8 LHP Brian Matusz vs. RHP Jeff Niemann

Real games, here we come!

Millwood works primarily off his fastball (65%, 90 MPH) and slider (22%, 85 MPH) with secondary offerings of a change and curve. The fastball was the only pitch to rate above average according to linear weights in 2009 at.12 Runs Above average/100 pitches. He struck out a career low 5.57 per nine innings in 2009 while walking 3.22.

Guthrie feature a 92-93 MPH fastball which he supplements mostly with a slider *84 MPH) and change (84 MPH). None of Guthrie's pitches rate above average. Guthrie induced a career low 34.7% ground balls in 2009, so hopefully the Rays can knock him around a bit. Guthrie struck out a measly 4.95 per nine while walking 2.7.

Matusz may be scheduled third, but he is most likely going to be the best of the three pitchers. The young left-hander carved up AA to the tune of a 2.55 FIP in 2009 before achieving a 4.08 in eight big league starts. He uses a 92 MPH fastball (60%), an 83 MPH change (18%) and a curve and slider about 10% each. The curve is nasty and averaged 3.36 Runs Above Average per 100 pitches.

Play ball and GO RAYS!