Milwood Rocked, Praise for Matusz & Markakis

It was ugly for Kevin Milwood yesterday. Ok, so Spring Training games don’t matter, and the hurler may have truly just been working on his stuff, but he gave up six runs on seven hits — in the opening inning against Detroit.

The Orioles ended up losing 9-5 to the Tigers down in Florida yesterday and much of the talk from Saturday centered on Millwood’s horrific first outing. He only lasted 2/3 of an inning, but gave up a homer to Clete Thomas and allowed a double, plus a multitude of singles.

Millwood says he’ll be fine, and based on his track record, his start was no big deal (if this happened in late March, it would be a different story). Matt Albers pitched 2 1/3 innings of solid relief. Brandon Erbe got shelled as he gave up three runs in the sixth inning.

Ty Wigginton went 2-for-3 and homered off Detroit ace Justin Verlander in the second inning. The Orioles scored four times in the ninth, and two runs came courtesy of Rhyne Hughes’ two-run homer.

Moving on…

ESPN’s Buster Olney in his blog this morning interviewed a talent evaluator who mused about Oriole pitcher Brian Matusz. Here’s what he said:

“He’s like Cole Hamels, but with a better fastball. He’s got a chance to be really special, with that stuff and command. Last spring, the pitcher I liked, as an up-and-comer, was Josh Johnson. Now, it’s [Matusz]. If he’s not the best young pitcher in the American League, I’d be shocked.”

Wow. Go Brian. Seriously, based on what I saw last year — before he was shut down, plus his overall demeanor, makeup and how he’s handled being in the majors, it would be a surprise if Brian was not successful. Barring injury or a major setback, he’s not only a key to the rise of the Orioles in 2010, but the future.

Also, there’s a good piece on Nick Markakis in today’s Baltimore Sun. Most of the article centers around his struggles last season and what he’s done so far to prepare for the 2010 season. Nick also talks about his ever growing family, making his full-time home in Maryland, and his off-season routine.

Furthermore, a his teammates and many in the organization feel that Markakis has only scratched the surface of his talent and he’s poised for a breakout season.