In mere hours, Matt Wieters will make his highly anticipated debut for the Orioles as they will look to continue their season-high four-game winning streak against the Detroit Tigers.
It's clear there's been a youth movement recently with the Orioles, and that will continue Friday night with Wieters' Major League debut. In two of the last three games, the spotlight has been on Baltimore rookies on the mound making their Major League debuts. Now, however, all eyes will be on the rookie behind the plate.
Wieters was the team's first-round selection and fifth overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He spent 2008 working his way through the Minor League system, and was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. This season, Wieters has appeared in 39 games for Triple-A Norfolk, hitting .305 with five home runs and 30 RBIs.
Despite all of the hype around Wieters, Orioles manager Dave Trembley is quick to point out that he'll be treated just as another member of the ball club. And though the fans might be expecting Wieters to become an immediate All-Star, Trembley has other expectations, at least for his first game with the team.
"I don't expect him to bat 1.000," Trembley said. "I don't expect him to be perfect. I expect him to ease his way in. I think the most impressive thing about Matt is his presence, not his tools."
Meanwhile, the Orioles have won four straight games for the first time since June 17-20, 2008. In each game, Baltimore has accumulated at least nine hits, and twice has put up at least 14. With the offense surging and the youth movement sweeping through the team's pitching staff, both players and coaches admit they're having fun.
Maybe no one more so than outfielder Adam Jones, who pushed a shaving cream pie into the face of rookie pitcher David Hernandez after the right-hander picked up his first Major League win Thursday. And if Wieters finds success in his debut, there's a good bet Jones will have another set of antics up his sleeve. Under one condition, however.
"As long as we keep winning, I guess," Jones said. "Wieters will be here tomorrow, so hopefully we can pie him."Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (1-2, 5.49 ERA)
Bergesen had another erratic start in his last outing, holding the Nationals scoreless through four innings and allowing two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. And that trend holds true for the rookie: In his last five starts, Bergesen has allowed 11 total runs in the first five innings and seven in the sixth or later. Bergesen has allowed at least three earned runs in all but one of his outings. DET: LHP Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 3.57 ERA)
After many wondered going into the season -- with good reason -- whether Willis would pitch for the Tigers again, Willis has laid the foundation to become a potential go-to starter heading into the summer. While his last outing couldn't match his 6 1/3 scoreless innings from his season debut, his quality start -- three runs allowed over 6 2/3 innings -- gave the Tigers at least a chance at a victory, even though Detroit's struggling offense couldn't convert. Willis has allowed 16 hits over his 17 2/3 innings, including only one home run, and he's been hitting the corners of the strike zone with relative consistency. Tidbits
Hernandez was fourth Orioles starting pitcher to win his big league debut this season. The only other trio of teammates to win their debuts in the same season since the expansion era was Chase Wright, Tyler Clippard and Ian Kennedy of the 2007 New York Yankees. ... Nolan Reimold hit his fifth home run of the season Saturday, and has now homered in a team season-high three games in a row. The all-time team record for consecutive games with a home run is six, set by Reggie Jackson from July 18-23, 1976. ... With the victory Thursday, the Orioles are just four games under .500, the closest they've been since they were 9-13 on April 29. ... Luke Scott homered twice Thursday, his sixth career multi-HR game and third for the Orioles this season.
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Saturday: Tigers (Justin Verlander, 5-2, 3.55) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 4-4, 4.90), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Tigers (Edwin Jackson, 4-3, 2.58) at Orioles (Jason Berken, 1-0, 3.60), 1:35 p.m. ET
Monday: Orioles (Rich Hill, 1-0, 6.14) at Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 3-3, 3.45), 10:10 p.m. ET
Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less