Matusz the stopper

Brian Matusz retained his rookie status this season.

Now he needs to become the stopper in the opening series of 2010.

Is there anything else he can do for us? Is he taking lunch orders, too?

Matusz will try to block the Rays' attempts to post a three-game sweep, which would make that early-morning arrival into BWI tomorrow seem even more cruel.

He's pitched once at Tropicana Field and won, though he allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and didn't issue a walk.

Matusz has the line memorized. He recited it to me yesterday as we leaned on the railing in front of the Orioles' dugout before the pre-game stretch (he had to stretch, not me.) He also remembers the three-run homer that he served up to Ben Zobrist, on a fastball up and away.

The Rays noticed that Matusz was trying to get ahead all night with the fastball. Let's see how he adjusts.

Zobrist also had a double and drove in all four runs against Matusz. You might want to pay special attention to his at-bats tonight. And I'm making the bold assumption that he'll remain in the lineup.

Brian Matusz, rookie stopper.

It has a nice ring to it.

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