The idea would have seemed preposterous a month ago.
Send Brian Matusz to the minors?
Did someone leave the cap loose on the Elmers?
I noticed that a few readers were pondering the possibility last night, asking about the length of his leash.
I get the same question about Garrett Atkins and have fielded it, at various times, about Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken and David Hernandez. This team doesn’t need a manager, it needs a dog walker.
As I noted last night, there didn’t seem to be much angst coming from the interview room after a 6-1 loss to Oakland that including Matusz’s six runs over five-plus innings.
You’ve digested the numbers by now, though you still might be working on that granola bar: 13 runs, 16 hits and three home runs in his last two starts covering 7 1/3 innings; 19 runs and 32 hits in his last four starts covering 18 innings.
Manager Dave Trembley called upon the 10 straight batters that Matusz retired as a sign that the rookie isn’t totally lost out there. And Matusz shut out the Indians over seven innings two weekends ago.
The kid has raised the bar so high in such a short amount of time that it’s jarring to see him giving up runs and hits with such generosity and leaving games in the early and middle innings.
Matusz is 2-5 with a 5.76 ERA.
Is he also in danger of losing his spot in the rotation?
It’s not like the Orioles are committed to keeping him around all summer, but I don’t think his next start, in New York, will decide his fate. I haven’t measured his leash lately, but I think he’s got some room to straighten himself out.
We might not be having this discussion if Jake Arrieta wasn’t flashing a 1.86 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk. Chris Tillman earned his Saturday promotion. Arrieta is next in line (just keep those walks down).
It’s good that Matusz is being pushed. We made such a huge deal over the cavalry before Tillman and Bergesen took steps backward and fell into the Tides rotation last month. Get the young arms cranked up again.
I think Matusz will be fine because he’s talented and understands the fine art of pitching. He’s also been pretty good at figuring out what he’s done wrong, though usually while he’s still on the mound and not inside the video room.
He’s left some balls up and over the plate, and he’s not getting the same action on his two-seam fastball. That can be corrected.
Bergesen was sent packing after only three starts, but he also was coming off a shoulder injury and appeared to be losing confidence. Matusz isn’t dealing with a health issue and he isn’t filled with doubts. His leash is longer.
He just needs to stop digging so many holes for himself.
Bergesen, by the way, will be making his first career start against the Athletics tonight. Gabe Gross is the only player he’s faced, and the outfielder is 1-for-3 with an RBI.
We might be discussing Bergesen’s leash if he struggles again tonight. He’s 3-3 with a 6.10 ERA and has surrendered 10 runs (nine earned) and 21 hits in 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts.
He also placed third in a three-man cooking competition yesterday, but make no mistake, his salmon is first-rate.
Now he needs to reel in a win.
It’s been an upstream climb lately for Matusz and Bergesen.
OK, I’m done.