**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles welcome the Kansas City Royals to town in the opener of a three-game set with rookie Zach Britton taking the hill in search of his elusive sixth win.**
BALTIMORE — What’s a guy have to do to get a little bit of run support?
Despite a string of 19 1/3 innings in which he hasn’t allowed an earned run, rookie Zach Britton has been stuck on five wins since May 1, the last time the Orioles managed to score a run while the lefty was still in the game. His 2.14 earned run average ranks sixth in the American League, and Britton will look for a little run support as he faces the Kansas City Royals in the first of a three-game set at Camden Yards.
Britton will be opposed by fellow rookie southpaw Danny Duffy, who will be making his second big league start after allowing two runs and walking six in four innings against the Texas Rangers in his debut last Wednesday. Duffy is a former third-round pick of the 2007 amateur draft and one of the more heralded prospects in the Kansas City system.
With three games against the Royals — losers of seven of their last nine — preceding a six-game West Coast trip against Oakland and Seattle, the Orioles have a golden opportunity to string together wins and eclipse the .500 mark for the first time since mid-April. Simply put, these are the opponents a young team has to thrive against if it wants to be taken seriously as a team on the rise.
In other news, Brian Matusz will make his third rehab start Friday at Norfolk. The lefty is expected to pitch six or seven innings or eclipse 90 pitches, whichever comes first. If all goes well, Matusz could join the club on the road trip and make his 2011 debut to begin June, a welcome sight for Orioles fans. Of course, the Orioles could elect to have him pitch one more rehab start before activating him from the disabled list.
In other injury-related news, Derrek Lee will head to Sarasota on Wednesday to continue rehabbing his strained oblique. He is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on June 1 if he’s deemed ready.
Second baseman Brian Roberts has seen a specialist regarding his lingering symptoms stemming from a concussion sustained in Boston last Monday night. He has not taken part in any baseball-related activity since the injury, and the club awaits word regarding his status.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
LF Alex Gordon
CF Melky Cabrera
1B Eric Hosmer
RF Jeff Francoeur
DH Billy Butler
3B Wilson Betemit
2B Mike Aviles
C Brayan Pena
SS Alcides Escobar
SP Danny Duffy (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
2B Robert Andino
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
LF Nolan Reimold
3B Mark Reynolds
SS J.J. Hardy
1B Brandon Snyder
SP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.14 ERA)
As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!