6:56: Welcome to my Yankees-Orioles liveblog, wherein I'll document the precise minute my hopes for this fantasy season shattered. Tonight's match up will feature O's rookie phenom and WHIP-killer Brian Matusz, also known as Bad SP4 for Carl's Bad Caverns, versus AJ Burnett, a Tommy John survivor putting up the best stats of his career. Michael Kay has just notified me that not only is Mark Texiera hitting, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher are en fuego. This will end poorly.
7:01: I think Al Leiter just called Nick Swisher "Nickalick".
7:04: The 2010 stats of four starting pitchers I drafted last year:
3-1 3.16 1.19
6-0 0.87 1.02
1-1 2.84 1.01
4-0 1.50 1.08
7:09: Adam Jones was one of the consensus fantasy writer sleeper picks this year, so it makes me happy to see him struggling. I love it every time these hacks are abysmally incorrect. In the time it took me to type those two sentences, Jones has already struck out on three pitches.
7:13 AJ has gotten every batter this inning to 0-2. Now considering that these are Orioles hitters, maybe it's not an earth-shattering feat of pitching prowess, but it's still impressive. His problem is that he historically can't locate his punch-out pitches. He grazed a fastball off Wieters' shoelaces before chucking a fastball over the middle for his second strikeout. I probably shouldn't count on Matusz for the win tonight, nevermind a quality start.
7:19: Curtis Granderson can't hit left-handed pitching, s -- first pitch to Jeter is smacked for a double, FML -- so he's out of the lineup, triggering an odd cascading shift through the lineup where Jeter is DHing and Pena is playing SS. With Posada out of the lineup due to old-man-hip, this might not be awful.
7:23: Matusz isn't an overpowering arm. His fastball tops out at 92, but mainly he plays at 90, which means batters with traditionally good contact rates like Texeira can foul off seven or eight 2-strike fastballs in a row and look impressive doing so. When the offspeed pitch finally comes, it's always high and crushable, and only two extremely top notch defensive plays are keeping the score from being 2-0 right now. WHERE ARE THE STRIKEOUTS!?
7:36: This is the shit I'm talking about. Matusz has Cano, an awful breaking ball hitter, 1-2, and he throws three straight mediocre fastballs until one is finally high enough that not even a hacker like Cano can lay off. One good changeup down in the zone could have put him away. Now Thames is down 1-2, and another fastball comes. Gardner sees three fastballs and flies out to LF. Matusz is going to get crushed his second time through the lineup if he doesn't start throwing offspeed pitches effectively. Fastballs against Jeter-Swisher-Texeira-ARod-Cano is a recipe for a Scherzer-like performance.
7:48: Kay: "Boy, he's got very. Good. Stuff tonight." I agree. Despite giving up an unearned run and two baserunners with zero outs, AJ's struck out Jones and Markakis and now has Wieters 0-2. There's only been one pitch thus far that I would categorize as distinctly off target, against Wieters in the first inning. One more nasty curve, and he's struck out the side.
8:01: Adam Jones misses a diving catch, and now the backup catcher is sitting on third base, and I'm waiting to witness the ERA floodgates. ANGOR. On a positive note, Brandon Phillips has a homerun and Chipper Jones has a hit. These are the sorts of nightly results that inspire optimism for my awful team. "I got a hit! Yay!"
8:07: Miguel Tejada's gyrations and pre-swing footstomping are far more entertaining now that he's rocking a serious gut.
8:19: Matusz has A-Rod 1-2, here are the pitches that follow: fastball outside fouled, slider low strikeout. Throw the breaking ball! Cano: fastball high (foul), fastball high (foul), fastball high (foul), fastball middle of the plate for a single. @%$^@#%^!