**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles go for two straight in the third of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***
BALTIMORE — It’s amazing what an 11-run outburst and a shutout can do for your confidence when you’ve been struggling to do just about anything right.
Fresh off their first victory in nine games on Tuesday night, the Orioles (7-9) will send rookie Zach Britton to the hill for his second start at Camden Yards. The left-hander struggled in Cleveland last Friday, picking up his first career loss in an 8-2 beating at the hands of the Indians, but the Orioles hope for a similar result to what Britton did against Texas two starts ago when he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in a dominating performance. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Nick Blackburn.
Even with an eight-game losing streak thrown into the mix in the season’s first three weeks, the Orioles will look for their eighth win of 2011 tonight after failing to reach the eight-win mark in 2010 until May 6, which came in the form of a 2-0 victory over the Twins at Target Field. The Orioles’ next home win will be their fifth and did not pick up their fifth game at Camden Yards until May 12 last season.
Let’s hope I didn’t apply the jinx by passing along those notes.
Brian Matusz is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday as he continues to recover from an intercostal strain that placed him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. The club plans to have the left-hander throw over the weekend — hopefully on a mound. Matusz has built up to throwing from 120 feet on flat ground.
The optimistic outlook is for Matusz to begin a minor league rehab assignment next weekend. However, he will likely require a longer-than-normal stint considering he will need to build arm strength and stretch himself out before returning to the Baltimore rotation. A return to the 25-man roster in mid-May seems to be the most realistic prediction at this point. Of course, that’s assuming he experiences no setbacks in the meantime.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
CF Denard Span
LF Jason Repko
RF Jason Kubel
1B Michael Cuddyer
DH Jim Thome
3B Danny Valencia
2B Luke Hughes
C Steve Holm
SS Matt Tolbert
SP Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06 ERA)
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino
SP Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75 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!