The latest on the rotation

The Orioles and Red Sox conclude their three-game series at Camden Yards with a 12:35 p.m. start, so the lineup will be coming to you a lot earlier than usual in the middle of the week.

Jake Arrieta is back on the hill and looking to reacquire his taste for home cooking. He’s 1-3 with a 6.44 ERA in five starts at Camden Yards this season, the only win coming on opening day. He’s also 0-2 with a 5.51 ERA in three career starts against Boston.

The Orioles finally get a day off Thursday before playing three games against the Royals at Camden Yards. Jason Hammel starts on Friday, followed by Wei-Yin Chen on Saturday and Brian Matusz on Sunday.

You’ll notice that Tommy Hunter’s name is missing.

Hunter pitched Monday, which would line him up for Sunday’s assignment if everyone stayed on turn. Instead, manager Buck Showalter is prepared to give Matusz the ball on regular rest.

“We were going to wait until after the game and see how he did and if we want to keep him on a routine compared to some other guys who could use some time,” Showalter said. “I think Brian’s in a little different category.”

It was only a year ago when Showalter looked for ways to give Matusz extra rest.

Hunter in Dugout wide.jpgHunter could make Monday’s start in Toronto, which would put him on six day’s rest, or Arrieta could pitch on normal rest that night, with Hunter waiting until Tuesday.

Hunter has registered only one quality start in his last four outings. He’s already been optioned once this season, though it didn’t last long. He’ll need to dial it up before Zach Britton comes off the disabled list, or he could lose his spot in the rotation.

Britton is expected to start Saturday at Double-A Bowie, and he might need only a few games before being activated. Matusz no longer appears to be vulnerable, posting a 4-1 record this month and turning in back-to-back quality starts.

As long as Hammel’s right knee doesn’t force him to the disabled list, Hunter is the guy who’s pitching on the thinnest ice.

By the way, Matt Wieters caught Matusz last night for the first time since May 1.

“You feel throughout the game what he’s got going,” Wieters said. “His changeup was something early he didn’t quite have the feel with it, but he kept throwing it and eventually it became a pitch that he could use whenever he wanted to.

“Brian threw the ball great. He was able to use all of his pitches and he had some tough hitters he was able to show the off-speed to and then be able to get them away with some fastballs. But Brian had everything in control. A couple of balls got up, but other than that he was outstanding.”

Tampa Bay won last night, so the Orioles continue to lead the American League East by two games. A victory today would improve their record against division opponents to 25-13 since Sept. 7, 2011. They also would be 15-3-2 in their last 20 series since Sept. 12, 2011.

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