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Orioles Review and Preview: Tigers, Blue Jays

For several of the Orioles, the Detroit Tigers will always hold a place in their heart but Detroit showed no love for Baltimore as the O's lost three of four in the Motor City.

In an odd quirk, three presumptive cornerstones of the future for the Orioles have made their debuts this season against the Tigers. David Hernandez won his major league debut against the Tigers on May 28. The following day, Matt Wieters made his major league debut. And Tuesday, pitcher Brian Matusz won in his major league debut in Detroit.

Matusz's victory served as the Orioles' lone win during the four-game set against the AL Central leaders. The team's top pick in the 2008 draft successfully made the leap from Class AA Bowie to the majors by managing to outduel July's AL pitcher of the month, Jarrod Washburn. Matusz gave up one run and six hits over five innings while striking out five in the 8-2 win, putting a smile on the face of every member of the Orioles organization and its fans. The feeling of joy was fleeting however as two more losses quickly followed.

The facts were these:

Edwin Jackson pretty much owns the Orioles after carrying a shutout into the ninth inning in an eventual 4-2 win for Detroit. In two games against Baltimore this season, Jackson has a combined line of 16 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 3 BBs and 15 Ks. Which is pretty, pretty good.

In yesterday's finale, the aforementioned Hernandez was meeting the same team he got his first win over but it appeared as though the Tigers had adjusted, knocking out the rookie after three innings and five runs to notch a 7-3 victory over the O's.

Meanwhile, in the first game, it was the Orioles striking first, slapping five first-inning runs on the board against Justin Verlander. Unfortunately for Baltimore, rookie Chris Tillman couldn't hold the lead in his second major league start, which led to a 6-5 Tigers win thanks to Clete Thomas's walk-off home run.

The Orioles now have just five wins since the all-star break, but with so many young players, Baltimore is at least watchable, unlike past seasons that have been blighted by the team's annual summer swoon.

The O's aren't the only team in the AL East stuck in a second half tailspin, though. The Toronto Blue Jays are 7-10 since the break. As a result, the Blue Jays seem to be dead set on a fourth-place finish, even after having spent most of the first half atop the division.

And while the Yankees and Red Sox slug it out this weekend for an inside edge at the top of the AL East, Baltimore and Toronto will be battling in the basement North of the Border.

Jason Berken will make the start tonight for the Orioles against rookie Ricky Romero. While Berken is still in search of his second victory since winning his major league debut and in danger of being demoted, Romero has thrived. Romero is 7-2 with a 3.36 ERA over his last nine starts, dating back to June 21.

Saturday's game will feature another battle of rookies, as Tillman will be seeking his first major league win while opposite the Blue Jays' Brett Cecil. Cecil, a Maryland native and Terp alum is 5-1 on the year, has won his last three decisions and has three quality starts in his last four games while also pitching into the seventh three times during the same time frame.

After facing Jarrod Washburn in his debut, Matusz will get to go against Toronto ace Roy Halladay in his second career start in Sunday's series finale, which doesn't really seem fair. Halladay has been scuffling of late, though, tallying just one win in his last eight starts; of course he still has posted a 3.16 ERA during that stretch. Halladay's career numbers against the Orioles still ensure a rough day for Baltimore, as the Blue Jays pitcher is 19-4 in 26 starts against the O's with a 2.92 ERA.

At 32 years old, Halladay is not only the lone veteran expected to start in this series; he's also the only guy over the age of 25. The average age of the six projected starters is 24 years, 10 months (yes, even with Halladay thrown in to the equation), meaning these young arms could be seeing a lot of each other over the coming seasons.

By CJ Holley  |  August 7, 2009; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Blue Jays , Orioles , Tigers  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Roy Halladay, Talking Behind Their Back, brian matusz, chris tillman, david hernandez, detroit tigers, jason berken, toronto blue jays  
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