Psyched for that Toronto rematch

If it makes you feel any better, the Orioles don't play Toronto again until Sept. 13.

They should be good and mad at the Jays. Hold 'em back or this could get ugly.

They also have three more games at Rogers Centre beginning Sept. 24. Oh, I bet they'll be steamed like a bushel of crabs. Prepare for baseball's No. 1 rivalry. It'll make Yankees-Red Sox look like a PTA meeting.

(So who ordered the French toast with a side of sarcasm? And anyone need a refill on their coffee?)

Scooter gave us the numbers last night, and I trust him to the point where I don't bother to double-check them. The Orioles are 0-12 against the Blue Jays, 2-10 against the Yankees and 2-7 against the Rays. That's a collective 4-29 (.121) record within the division, not counting the 6-6 mark vs. the Red Sox.

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I always thought the Orioles needed to change divisions to escape the Yankees and Red Sox. They need to escape everyone.

Rookie Brian Matusz gets his first look at the Royals tonight, or the other way around. Since blanking the Red Sox on two hits over seven innings, the left-hander has allowed 13 runs and 17 hits, and walked nine, in 9 2/3 innings over his next three starts.

Matusz was better in his last outing and told reporters afterward that he made a big stride.

"This last week, Kranny and I in our bullpen sessions worked out some mechanical things that I thought really helped," he said. "We worked on keeping me in a straight line to stay square toward the plate and attack the zone better."

Here's hoping that he's in full attack mode tonight - like Sidney Ponson with a slice of cheesecake. (That's two mornings in a row, folks. Not sure how long I can keep it going, but that's two.)

"Really happy with the confidence I have and the momentum I have coming into my next outing," Matusz added. "Made a big stride today, really learned a lot about myself and really looking forward to my next start."

It's coming tonight at Kauffman Stadium, a first for Matusz. He'll have to take the ballpark tour alone, since Chris Tillman is pitching in Norfolk.

Kyle Davies will oppose Matusz. He's 2-1 lifetime against the Orioles, but that includes a 6.65 ERA. He's allowed 17 runs and 29 hits in 23 innings.

Before you lay down that bet, he held them to two runs in six innings back in May.

Davies turned in three straight quality starts before allowing four runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his most recent outing at Yankee Stadium.

Adam Jones is 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs against Davies. Miguel Tejada is 3-for-6. Brian Roberts is 2-for-9, but that includes a double and home run.

Since we spend so much time second-guessing every move the Orioles made in the off-season, it's only fair to point out two wise decisions: Avoiding Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard.

Sheets is done for the season after going 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts. He'll also miss a good chunk of the 2011 season after undergoing another surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

The Athletics gambled by paying him $10 million, the biggest one-year contract in franchise history for a player outside the organization. Lots of fans wanted the Orioles to hand over a similar deal or float a multi-year offer.

Probably wouldn't have worked out.

Bedard still hasn't pitched for the Mariners, which is humorous if you recall the great winter debate over whether the Orioles should sign him and when he'd be ready and whether he had started his throwing program and whether he would be a bad influence on the young starters.

He's now getting a third opinion on his shoulder. I think the first two included the word "Yikes."

Actually, Dr. Lewis Yocum supplied the second opinion, which is usually where it ends. For Bedard to seek a third one tells me plenty.

I'm going to stop here before I'm tempted to check on more players that the Orioles passed on this winter and feel depressed all over again.

I'm also craving French toast for some unknown reason. And cheesecake.

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