Orioles will try to solve Verlander

If Justin Verlander doesn't win the American League's Cy Young Award, I'll attempt to catch his next fastball between my teeth.

The only question is whether he'll also be named Most Valuable Player. And whether the Orioles can do anything against him tonight.

Verlander is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Orioles, with 44 hits, 17 walks and 51 strikeouts in 58 innings. They're batting .209 against him. But at least they don't pretend to get lost on their way to the ballpark.

Verlander is 24-5 with a 2.29 ERA this season, with 56 walks and 244 strikeouts in 244 innings. Isn't that roughly a strikeout an inning? Again, I'm not good at math.

Opponents haven't scored a run in Verlander's last two starts covering 15 innings. He's allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his last seven starts, and six of 10.

Vladimir Guerrero, who needs two more hits to become the all-time leader among Dominican players, is 8-for-19 (.421) lifetime against Verlander. Is there any way he can fill all nine spots in the order?

J.J. Hardy is 2-for-16. Adam Jones is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts. Nick Markakis is 5-for-26 with 10 strikeouts.

They won't be rushing to the bat rack.

Verlander leads the majors in wins. Jeremy Guthrie leads the majors with 17 losses, and he'll try to avoid No. 18 tonight.

As if you needed another example of the huge gap that separates these two teams.

Verlander lost 17 games in 2008. Since then, he's gone 61-23. Maybe we should keep that in mind while judging the Orioles' young starters this season.

The Tigers made Verlander the second-overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Old Dominion. I remember how some scouts, while loving the 100 mph fastball, questioned whether Verlander could throw it near the plate. His control was a genuine concern among some industry types.

Seems pretty silly now.

The Padres took California high school shortstop Matt Bush with the first pick. The Mets, choosing third, took Rice University pitcher Phil Humber.

The Orioles made another Rice pitcher, Wade Townsend, the eighth pick. He didn't sign and re-entered the draft.

This part really stings: The Angels took Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver at No. 12.

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