Brian Matusz didn't have his best stuff today, but he turned in a quality start.
Another encouraging sign from him.
"Today was one of those days where I never really got in a good groove, and you're going to have those days," he said. "You have games where you feel great, and games where you have to grind and battle through it. I was having a tough time getting on top of my pitches. I feel like I didn't have a very good downward plane on my fastball. And all the other pitches work off the fastball. Because I wasn't able to establish that pitch, I was a little inconsistent with my other pitches.
"It was a good day, though, in terms of learning a lot, things I need to work on, things I need to get better at. At the same time, I was able to work out of some jams. To be honest with you, I feel like it could have been a lot worse. I was able to just battle and work through it.
"There were some hits I gave up that could have been outs. There were outs that were hit really hard and could have been doubles. I was able to balance it out a little bit. But I've just got to be able to get in that groove."
Matusz worked on his slide step with runners on base. Spring is still the time to experiment.
"Just trying to be faster to the plate," he said. "At the same time, I was trying to get back in a groove and feel good. Things just got a little bit tough on me, but I know what I need to do to be able to hold runners a little bit better. I thought in my later innings I was able to do that a little bit better by shortening my stride.
"I'll just take a lot from today. I learned a lot from today and I look forward to my next start. Kranny and I have already talked about holding runners and being quicker, and being able to pitch when you don't have good stuff, and I was still able to do that today. Being able to still go six innings and only giving up three runs in the long run was OK considering I didn't feel like I had a good feel for everything. Those are big.
"I even talked to Jim Palmer about it before. You don't have your good stuff and you're able to still go six innings or seven innings and minimize the runs, that's what makes a good pitcher a great pitcher."