O's try for victory against Verlander

It would not be an upset as big as say Super Bowl III when the Jets beat the Colts, but I would guess it would be maybe a mild upset to see an Orioles win tonight.

After all, Brad Bergesen had an uneven spring and hasn't pitched in a while and Orioles' hitters will be facing one of the AL's best in Justin Verlander.

The 28-year-old righty, who has 37 wins the past two seasons, won his only start against Baltimore last year. He allowed just two runs on five hits over eight innings last September against the Birds in an 11-strikeout performance.

He went 18-9, 3.37 last year with 33 starts and finished 3rd in the AL Cy Young balloting.

In seven career starts against the Orioles, Verlander is 5-0 with an ERA of 2.52 over 50 innings.

"He's one of the top pitchers in the game," manager Buck Showalter said today in his pregame media interview. "He's a guy that can compete for the Cy Young every year. The stuff is well above average, but the command, athleticism and competitiveness puts him at another level. He's the full package."

Not many O's have hit him well:
Markakis: 5-for-23 with 10 strikeouts
Roberts: 3-for-19 with a HR
Vlad: 6-for-16, .375 avg
Hardy: 2-for-13
Scott: 4-for-14 with two doubles and a HR
Jones: 1-for-10 with four strikeouts
Izturis: 1-for-6
Wieters: 2-for-6

Here are two stats that may provide hope for O's fans in tonight's matchup.

The right-hander was great at home last year, but rather ordinary on the road. He went 12-3, 2.31 at home but just 6-6, 4.45 away from Detroit.

Plus, Verlander is more hittable it would seem early in the season. He had an ERA of 5.53 last April and has a career ERA of 5.03 in 27 April starts, easily his highest ERA in any month.

We'll see if Verlander can stand between the O's and their second 5-0 start in team history.

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