Scott under the microscope at first

Scott under the microscope at first

MINNEAPOLIS -- A ground ball. A line drive. Anything. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley is hoping to evaluate Luke Scott at first base, but he'll need the opposing hitters to cooperate in some way, shape or form. Scott will be back at first base in the middle act of the Orioles' series against Minnesota, and Trembley will be hoping for some clarity.

"He's played four games and they haven't hit him a darn ground ball yet," he said of Scott, who is attempting to make the transition from designated hitter. "I haven't been able to see too much. He's going to play first base [Tuesday] though. We'll let him get some work in with [infield coach] Juan [Samuel] the first day here."

And as if moving to a new position -- a slot he hasn't played since college -- isn't hard enough, Scott is having to do it in the midst of an extended slump. The veteran went into the series opener batting just .168 (17-for-101) since the All-Star break, and he took a 1-for-4 night against Minnesota's Scott Baker and Joe Nathan on Monday.

"I know what his numbers are," said Trembley. "This is a good place for him to get hot and get some hits for us. Obviously, last year his worst streak was 15-for-94. Let's get this one out of the way and turn the corner."

The Orioles sent high-wattage prospect Chris Tillman to the mound in the opener and will follow with Brian Matusz, the fourth overall selection from the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Matusz has made three of his first four starts on the road, and in his brief experience thus far he has a 2-1 record and a 6.92 ERA away from Camden Yards.

And with the Twins in the thick of a pennant race, Trembley knows his younger players can gain some much-needed experience. Matusz will get the next shot, and the Orioles will attempt to hold serve with the Twins.

"Things happen here quick," said Trembley regarding Minnesota's home park, a noted high-speed environment. "It's a faster game. You've got to stay away from the big inning, you got to minimize it. If you keep the scores down, you've got a chance. If you don't keep the score down here, I don't think it's going to be in your favor."

Pitching matchup
BAL: LHP Brian Matusz (2-2, 6.75 ERA)
Matusz pitched competitively in his most recent outing and earned his second victory in four big league starts. The southpaw has given up 31 hits in 18 2/3 innings but has struck out 20 batters, against just eight walks. Matusz has allowed four home runs in his first four starts. He started this season at Class A Frederick and made just eight starts at Double-A Bowie before being promoted to the Majors.

MIN: RHP Armando Gabino (MLB debut)
Gabino went 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 36 appearances (five starts) at Rochester. The right-hander, 25, allowed just three earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings and had a 2.16 ERA as a starter. He replaces Anthony Swarzak in the rotation.

Bird bites
The Orioles have the worst road record (21-43) in the American League and have lost on eight straight Monday games. ... Fourteen of Baltimore's last 25 losses have come by two runs or less. ... The O's bullpen has allowed just one run in the past 19 2/3 innings, and Chris Ray has allowed just one run in his past 16 innings of work. ... The Orioles are now 35-27 when they score first and 16-47 when their opponents draw first blood. ... Baltimore is 45-29 when it scores four runs or more and 6-44 when it scores fewer than four. ... The Orioles have gotten 45 quality starts from their rotation and have seen their opponents fire 58 quality starts back at them. ... Baltimore is 18-23 in the first game of a series and 13-27 in series finales. The Orioles are now 23 games under .500, one game short of their nadir.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
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On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Wednesday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 8-12, 5.45) at Twins (Nick Blackburn, 8-8, 4.27), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Orioles (David Hernandez, 4-6, 4.35) vs. Indians (Aaron Laffey, 7-3, 3.42), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 3-11, 6.49) vs. Indians (Fausto Carmona, 3-8, 5.92), 7:05 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.