***Join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00 as the Orioles host the Tigers in the first home night game of the season***
BALTIMORE — With their sights set on their best start in 41 years, the Orioles (4-0) take on the Detroit Tigers in the second of a three-game set at Camden Yards.
It won’t be an easy task as Brad Bergesen — filling in for the ill Jeremy Guthrie — goes to the mound against one of the top pitchers in the American League in right-hander Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA). Despite filling in for Guthrie, Bergesen ironically is the second-most experienced starting pitcher (47 career starts) in the Baltimore starting rotation.
Last season was one of peaks and valleys for Bergesen as the 25-year-old started slowly after injuring his shoulder while filming an offseason commercial and suffered through a demotion to Triple-A Norfolk due to ineffectiveness. Despite the uneven season, Bergesen finished strongly by going 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in his final 12 starts of 2010.
Verlander is coming off an 18-win season that included an impressive 219 strikeouts in 224 1/3 innings and a 3.37 ERA. With the Baltimore lineup not exactly tearing the cover off the ball in the first four games, Bergesen will need to continue the trend of excellent starting pitching to give the Orioles much of a chance in this one.
Luke Scott is again out of the lineup as he continues to recover from a groin injury suffered in Tampa Bay. Buck Showalter said in his pre-game comments to the media that Scott would be available to pinch-hit and continues to improve. The Orioles manager had previously targeted a Wednesday return for the starting left fielder. Scott said he is very close to returning before the game.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
CF Austin Jackson
2B Will Rhymes
RF Magglio Ordonez
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
LF Brennan Boesch
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Brandon Inge
SP Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
RF Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Felix Pie
SS J.J. Hardy
SP Brad Bergesen (2010: 8-12, 4.98 ERA)
As we do for every weeknight home game, the Orange Crush live chat will be open for business as the Orioles try to make it five in a row to begin the season. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the night! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!