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Wieters making first visit to division's elite

Wieters making first visit to division's elite

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CHICAGO -- If the projections prove to be accurate, Matt Wieters should get to know all the quirks at the new Yankee Stadium and learn where to eat on Newbury Street in Boston. Over the next decade or so, the Orioles catcher figures to make several trips each season through the American League's Northeast corridor.

There are all sorts of weird "firsts" throughout baseball. Until Sunday, the Orioles had faced nine straight left-handed starters, something that hasn't occurred in 29 years and tied a big league record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last time it happened to the Orioles was 1955.

Wieters reasoned that it wasn't a bad thing for a rookie to gain exposure to all those pitchers. And he'll be thrown into another new environment this week when he makes his first trip to Yankee Stadium and plays his first game at Fenway Park, part of Baltimore's nine-game, 10-day road trip.

Wieters, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 Draft out of Georgia Tech, is hitting .239 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 33 games with the big league club. He's in an 0-for-12 slump and has gone 2-for-23 in his last six games since his five-game hitting streak ended.

The 23-year-old is waking up in a new city every few days and adjusting to the routine. That will include advance meetings for New York, perhaps the league's most dangerous lineup.

"Once you see hitters behind the plate, you can get a little bit of a feel for them," Wieters said, "but until then you're pretty much going on videotape and you're pretty much going on scouting reports."

While Wieters is gathering impressions and observations, the Orioles are 13-19 this season against teams within their own division.

"We always get up to play Boston and New York. If you don't, you need to go home," said Gregg Zaun, Wieters' backup. "We're going to go out there and play them tough, like we always do."

Wieters once worked out at Fenway Park as part of a Cape Cod League showcase. He then watched a Red Sox game afterward but acknowledged that "Fenway's a little bit different with the stands filled."

"It will be a different atmosphere this time I'm sure," Wieters said. "It will be fun and exciting to see those stadiums."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP David Hernandez (2-2, 3.94 ERA)
Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after his last start in order to provide some positional flexibility for the Orioles, and he'll return to start Baltimore's series opener at Yankee Stadium. Hernandez has pitched into the sixth inning in four of his first five starts and has allowed more than three earned runs just once. The right-hander was a strikeout artist in the Minors but has yet to whiff more than five in a big league game.

NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.85 ERA)
Pettitte opens up his second half coming off two losses. The left-hander went just 4 1/3 innings on July 11 at Anaheim, allowing six runs on seven hits in a 14-8 loss to the Angels -- the second straight time he allowed six runs, having also been rattled by the Blue Jays in a 7-6 loss on July 6 at home. He is 1-2 with a 7.29 ERA in his past four starts. This will be the veteran's first start of the season against the Orioles, against whom he was 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA last season.

Tidbits
For Hernandez, this will be his first career start against New York. ... Aubrey Huff hit his 11th homer on July 3 and is one homer shy of 200 for his career. ... Brian Roberts is 9-for-22 (.409) in his last five games. ... Nolan Reimold came out of the All-Star break by hitting.400 (6-for-15) with two doubles and three RBIs in the Chicago series.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN HD

On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Tuesday: Orioles (Rich Hill, 3-2, 7.22) at Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 5-8, 4.65 in 2007, DNP in '08), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 1-7, 6.44) at Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 8-4, 3.81), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

Patrick Mooney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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