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Today's game previews -- April 14

Norfolk Tides (AAA)

Opponent

Charlotte Knights (7:15 p.m.)

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Probable pitchers

Norfolk: David Pauley (14-4, 3.55 ERA with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in 2008)

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Charlotte: John Van Benschoten (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Notes

* Pauley prepares to make his first start for the Tides after failing to crack the Opening Day rotation for the Orioles. The 25-year-old right-hander was 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts for Pawtucket in the Boston Red Sox organization during the 2008 season. Pauley struck out 103 hitters and issued 41 walks in 147 innings. He also was 0-1 with an 11.68 ERA in six games (two starts) in the major leagues for Boston.

* Today is Van Benschoten's 29th birthday. Will the Tides treat him nicely, or will they make it a birthday to forget? The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander gave up three runs and two hits in five innings during his first start of the 2009 season, a 9-1 loss to the Gwinnett Braves on April 9.

* Orioles relief pitcher Matt Albers officially joined the Tides prior to last night's game. The 26-year-old relief pitcher replaces infielder Donnie Murphy -- who was put on the disabled list with a sprained knee -- on Norfolk's roster.

* With Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora bothered by a sore hamstring, it seems like a good time to analyze players who potentially could be promoted if he goes on the disabled list. Norfolk's Scott Moore is batting .188 (3-for-16) with four strikeouts in four games, while Mike Costanzo is 0-for-9 with an RBI in three games. Oscar Salazar is hitting .250 (4-for-16) for the Tides, while Nolan Reimold has a .412 batting average (7-for-17) with two home runs and five RBIs. Lou Montanez is currently the Tides' hottest hitter. He is batting .588 (10-for-17) with one RBI. It's going to be an interesting decision if Mora misses a significant amount of time.Bowie Baysox (AA)

Opponent

Erie SeaWolves (6:35 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Bowie: Jason Berken (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Erie: Jonah Nickerson (0-0, 9.00 ERA)

Notes

* Berken suffered the loss in the season opener on April 8 against the Akron Aeros after giving up three runs in three innings. The 25-year-old right-hander walked four hitters and surrendered two hits, while collecting three strikeouts.

* Nickerson didn't factor in the decision during Erie's season opener on April 8 against the Altoona Curve. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in four innings during the SeaWolves' 8-7 win. He struck out two hitters and didn't issue any walks.

* Over their past 19 innings, Baysox starting pitchers have only given up two earned runs. Also, Baysox relief pitcher Wilfrido Perez has only allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, while collecting two saves so far this season.

Frederick Keys (A)

Opponent

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (7:05 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Frederick: Brian Matusz (0-0, 3.86 ERA)

Myrtle Beach: Edgar Osuna (0-0, 2.25 ERA)

Notes

* Matusz makes his second start for the Keys tonight in Myrtle Beach. The 22-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings during his professional debut on April 9 against the Salem Red Sox. He struck out four hitters and issued two walks in Frederick's 8-6 victory.

* Osuna gave up one run and two hits in four innings during Myrtle Beach's 9-2 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks on April 9. The 21-year-old left-hander collected three strikeouts and walked one hitter in the game. He was 10-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 30 games (14 starts) for the Single-A Rome Braves in 2008.

Delmarva Shorebirds (A)

Opponent

Hagerstown Suns (6:35 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Delmarva: Rick Zagone (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Hagerstown: Brad Peacock (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Notes

* In his first start of the season, Zagone only surrendered one hit in five scoreless innings against the Lakewood BlueClaws. The 22-year-old left-hander struck out five hitters and issued three walks in the Shorebirds' 2-1 victory.

* Peacock was even more impressive in the Suns' season opener against the Lake County Captains on April 9. The 21-year-old right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out five batters. Last season, Peacock was 4-12 with a 4.97 ERA at two levels of the Washington Nationals' minor league system, including 0-5 with a 9.09 ERA for Hagerstown.

* Despite winning four of their first five games, the Shorebirds lead the South Atlantic League with 49 strikeouts. Delmarva outfielder Xavier Avery leads the team with eight, while infielder Jedidiah Stephen has struck out seven times.

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