Lauren Tilley: Brian Matusz is no longer Brian Matusz

For those of you who know how yesterday’s game went, it was an offensive shootout that unfortunately ended badly for the Orioles (yet again). It all started with Brian Matusz who lasted only 1 1/3 innings or, to put it better, four outs. In that short outing, he gave up five hits, five earned runs and two walks.

So far this season, he is 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA. His longest outing of the season was 6 2/3 innings in which he gave up eight hits and six runs in the loss. In his 10 starts this season, the Orioles have lost eight of those games.

Something is clearly wrong with him. He started the season on the disabled list and when he made his first start back on June 1, he didn’t look too good. Everyone thought that it was because he was just coming back and needed some time to warm up. His second start went much better when he only gave up two runs and got the win, so it looked as if he was fine and getting back on track.

However, it all went downhill from there. Before yesterday, he had given up six runs or more in his last five starts. He spent July down at Triple-A Norfolk and ended his stint there pitching really well with a complete-game shutout. Yet, as soon as he came back up to the majors, the awfulness started all over again.

I recently wrote an article on Birds Watcher about what’s really wrong with this franchise. I put most of the blame on the minor league system and its managers, coaches, trainers, and scouts. The situation with Matusz proves that point. Last season, he was great and was slated to be even better this season and win the ace of staff role. I think the Orioles need to do some intense re-evaluating of the coaches and trainers they have for their minor league players because it seems like every time the Orioles seem to have a decent prospect that starts really going places for this team, he gets hurt and then is terrible. It can’t all just be bad luck.

The same goes for what happened to Matusz. I don’t know if he wasn’t being 100 percent with the coaches and trainers or if they are the ones who didn’t do a good job in figuring out what was going on with him. Either way, something went wrong, Matusz came back too early from his injury, and has completely wasted a season.

As for next season, I’m not really sure how he’s going to pitch. I can only hope that he gets a nice rest this offseason to truly get healthy and comes back as the solid ace we thought he was. For some reason, though, I have a feeling the Orioles will catch yet another unlucky break.

Lauren Tilley blogs about the Orioles for Birds Watcher, and her thoughts on the O’s appear here as part of’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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