By: Stache Staff

Pre-game: Baltimore Orioles (39-29) at Mets (37-32)


Good afternoon and welcome to another fine day of Mets baseball! Fresh off of two straight shutouts of the Orioles, the Mets are back at it tonight and going for the sweep at Citi Field starting at 7:10 PM. While Dillon Gee tries to continue to hold Baltimore scoreless in the series finale, lefty Brian Matusz takes the hill for the O’s.

In a pre-game talk with reporters, Terry Collins expressed confidence in the development of Jordanny Valdespin, who is 4 for 8 in the last two games. However, both Ronny Cedeno and Ruben Tejada are due back from the disabled list soon, so Valdespin may have to fend off Vinny Rottino and others in order to stay on the roster.

Mets Lineup
1. Andres Torres, CF
2. Jordanny Valdespin, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Scott Hairston, RF
5. Vinny Rottino, LF
6. Ike Davis, 1B
7. Justin Turner, SS
8. Mike Nickeas, C
9. Dillon Gee, RHP

The lineup against the left-handed Matusz is even more stacked with righties than normal because Lucas Duda is sitting out with a tight hamstring. Daniel Murhpy, the other lefty who usually plays against lefties, is out of the lineup in favor of Valdespin. Now Murphy is warming up with a Phillies hat hiding in his pants.

Baltimore Orioles Lineup
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Chris Davis, RF
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Nick Johnson, 1B
7. Wilson Betemit, 3B
8. Ryan Flaherty, LF
9. Brian Matusz, LHP

Tonight the Mets will get their first look at Orioles rookie Ryan Flaherty. Last season at double-A, Flaherty hit .305/.384/.523 and he’s shown flashes of being a great fielder in the majors so far. However, the versatile Flaherty does not have one true position to call home, and that will likely continue this season on a Baltimore team that is not short on offense.

Pitching match-up
NYM — RHP Dillon Gee (4.43 ERA, 74 SO, 23 BB)

I’ve wrote before in this space about how Gee is outperforming his 4.43 ERA, but in his last outing vs. Cincinnati, Gee was just okay once again. With the way Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey have shown they can pitch, Gee doesn’t need to be spectacular for the Mets to be a decent team. However, he’ll need to step up his game if New York has a playoff run in mind.

BAL — LHP Brian Matusz
After a fairly solid 2010 campaign, Matusz struggled with home runs and walks last season. This year, he’s a little more under control, but Matusz is still a long way from showing the potential he had as a prospect. His last two starts have been pretty ugly, but Baltimore doesn’t have much in the way of starting pitching, so Matusz will continue to get chances to succeed at the major league level… at least until current top prospect Dylan Bundy is ready.

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