It's Dontrelle Willis' trademark high leg kick vs. Daniel Cabrera's trademark high pitch count. Should be a dandy tonight at Camden Yards.
If you like heat, you need to be at The Yard tonight. Willis and Cabrera both bring it, temperatures figure to be in the mid 80s at first pitch and the Florida Marlins roll into Baltimore as the hottest team in the majors.
You read that right -- the Marlins have won eight straight and recently climbed past the Braves and out of the cellar in the NL East. Joke on the Marlins all you want, but they have a scary young pitching staff and three All-Star worthy infielders in Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez.
Fortunately for the O's, Cabrera seems to have hit his stride, going 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts this month. And third baseman Melvin Mora should be good to go after taking a pitch off his knee on Sunday. Mora has just two home runs in his past 34 games.
The Orioles will miss Marlins rookie Josh Johnson, who has an NL-best 2.01 ERA this month. But tomorrow's starter, Ricky Nolasco, is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 18 strikeouts in his past three outings. Scott Olsen, who starts Thursday, has won his last four starts, posting a 1.95 ERA over that span.
Rodrigo Lopez was less than thrilled with being pushed back in the rotation so others can stay on regular rest. He'll miss the Marlins and instead face the Washington Nationals in their first-ever regular-season visit to Baltimore.
Lopez will likely be opposed by John Patterson, who has been sidelined since April 21 with right forearm tendinitis. Patterson was one of the surprises of the 2005 season, but fantasy owners will want to leave him on the bench until he proves he's healthy. He surrendered five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a rehab start at Single-A on Sunday.
Adam Loewen is in line to face Ramon Ortiz on Saturday, a nice break for the O's rookie. Loewen matched up against former Cy Young Award winners (Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay - twice - and Tom Glavine) in his first four major league starts. If memory serves, Ortiz has never won a Cy Young.
This week's matchups
- Today - Marlins (Dontrelle Willis-L) at O's (Cabrera-R), 7:05 p.m.
- Wednesday - Marlins (Ricky Nolasco-R) at O's (Bedard-L), 7:05 p.m.
- Thursday - Marlins (Scott Olsen-L) at O's (Benson-R), 7:05 p.m.
- Friday - Nationals (John Patterson-R) at O's (R. Lopez-R), 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday - Nationals (Ramon Ortiz-R) at O's (Loewen-L), 4:35 p.m.
- Sunday - Nationals (Michael O'Connor-L) at O's (Cabrera), 1:35 p.m.