Still searching for their first victory of the 2009 season, the Double-A Bowie Baysox will send left-hander Troy Patton to the mound against the Akron Aeros.
The Triple-A Norfolk Tides look to rebound from a 2-1 loss to the Durham Bulls, while the Single-A Frederick Keys and Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds hope to build on last night's victories.
Norfolk: Chris Waters (8-6, 4.65 ERA in minors; 3-5, 5.01 ERA with Orioles)
Durham: David Price (12-1, 2.30 ERA in minors; 0-0, 1.93 ERA with Tampa Bay Rays)
* This is the first 2009 matchup that everyone is waiting for -- Price against Orioles top prospect Matt Wieters. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound left-hander rapidly climbed through the Rays' minor league system in 2008. He made stops in Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A before finishing the season with the Rays. Price collected 109 strikeouts and walked 32 hitters in 109 2/3 innings in the minor leagues. Wieters struggled in the season opener yesterday, going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. These two players could meet for several years in the majors, so it will be interesting to see what happens tonight in Durham, N.C.
* Waters was 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts against Durham in 2008. The 28-year-old left-hander had 13 strikeouts and walked seven hitters in 16 2/3 innings against the Bulls. He was 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA at Bowie before being promoted to Norfolk in the middle of last season.
* This is an interesting tidbit from the Tides' game preview -- none of Norfolk's position players and only two pitchers (Waters and Alberto Castillo) are left-handed throwers. It really doesn't have a lot to do with the game, but I thought it was one of those quirky facts that was worth sharing.Bowie Baysox (AA)
Bowie: Troy Patton (did not pitch in 2008)
Akron: Josh Tomlin (10-5, 3.04 ERA with Kinston Indians and Buffalo Bisons in 2008)
* Patton hasn't pitched in an official game in over a year, but he says there have been no setbacks from the labrum surgery in his throwing shoulder. Patton was 10-8 with a 3.51 ERA while splitting time between the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and the Triple-A Round Rock Express in 2007. While the Orioles are stockpiling pitchers in the minor leagues, Patton's progress is key to judging the Miguel Tejada trade to the Astros.
* Tomlin was used primarily as a relief pitcher with the Single-A Kinston Indians and Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system last season. The 24-year-old right-hander made 41 appearances (10 starts) in 2008. Overall, he was 10-5 with a 3.04 ERA and three saves. Tomlin had 112 strikeouts and only walked 17 hitters in 109 2/3 innings.
Salem Red Sox
Frederick: Pedro Beato (4-10, 5.85 ERA for Keys in 2008)
Salem: Eammon Portice (4-4, 3.64 ERA for Single-A Greenville Drive in 2008)
* Beato hopes to rebound from a poor performance last season to prove that he's still worthy of recognition in the Orioles' minor league system. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander battled a shoulder injury in 2008, and he stumbled to a 4-10 record with a 5.85 ERA in 19 starts for the Keys. The Orioles selected Beato in the supplemental portion of the first round in the 2006 MLB draft.
* The Red Sox selected Portice in the 12th round of the 2007 MLB draft. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander was 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) for the Single-A Greenville Drive in the South Atlantic League during the 2008 season. He had 80 strikeouts and walked 26 hitters in 71 2/3 innings.
* Center fielder Matt Angle, the Orioles' seventh round selection in the 2007 MLB draft, provided a spark for the Keys' offense yesterday. The 23-year-old outfielder had three hits, including a triple. He also stole two bases, scored two runs and collected an RBI.
Delmarva: Cole McCurry (10-9, 4.29 ERA with Shorebirds and Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds in 2008)
Lakewood: Jason Knapp (3-1, 2.61 ERA with GCL Phillies in 2008)
* McCurry started last season with the Shorebirds, but he struggled mightily and was sent to the short-season New York-Penn League. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-hander was 2-6 with a 6.51 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) for the Shorebirds in 2008. McCurry shined with the IronBirds, however, going 8-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 starts. He struck out 75 hitters in 81 2/3 innings with Aberdeen.
* Knapp, an 18-year-old right-hander, was 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in seven games (six starts) for the GCL Phillies in 2008. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound pitcher struck out 38 hitters and issued 12 walks in 31 innings. He was one of the Phillies' two second-round picks in last year's MLB draft.