I guarantee it

Before I pack up my car and drive back to Eldersburg, I wanted to make the following statement:

The Orioles will win today.

It's not necessary for me to pull over, step out of my car and recite the alphabet backward. I don't need to walk a straight line. I'm stone-cold sober and guaranteeing a victory.

Brian Matusz might have to go nine innings. He might have to go 10. He might have to ice his arm with a pack that extends to the bottom of his feet and the top of his head. But he's not losing this game today and the Orioles aren't getting swept by the Oakland A's.

The Nationals' Livan Hernandez tossed a four-hit shutout yesterday and he's at least 60 years old. His teammates gathered in the clubhouse to watch video of the opposing pitcher. Hernandez bought the first season of Murder She Wrote.

If Hernandez can do it, why not Matusz?

The Nats scored eight runs, which is about a week's worth of production for the Orioles, but Matusz won't need that much generosity.

The key is finishing what he started. I don't care if his pitches are up in the seventh or eighth inning. I wouldn't hand over the ball unless manager Dave Trembley brings a crowbar to the mound - to smack me over the head. And the first blow wouldn't convince me.

I don't trust anyone to close right now. I'm not thrilled with the set-up work or matchups, either. But it won't matter today. Matusz will be around 100 pitches entering the ninth and he'll get the last three outs.

Then he'll meet with ownership and express interest in a front office job.

OK, scratch that one. One bold prediction at a time.

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