Left-hander Brian Matusz, who starts tonight, made his major league debut in Detroit exactly one year ago and picked up his first win.
In 2002, Ty Wigginton hit his first major league home run, a three-run shot off Arizona’s John Patterson.
The Orioles named Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Armando Gabino as the organization’s minor league Pitcher of the Month for July after he went 3-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA in eight games. He walked four batters and struck out 19. Double-A Bowie’s Joe Mahoney was named Player of the Month after he batted .405 with five doubles, a triple, six homers, 16 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
I asked manager Buck Showalter what he saw from Matusz while trying to watch 15 games at once in the ESPN studios.
“You can certainly see why everybody’s so high on him,” Showlater said. “He goes through some of the same struggles that all young pitchers do. Baseball is unlike any other sport. You come out of college and you can be an All-Pro in football, you come out of high school and impact the NBA. Baseball, there’s an apprenticeship that you have to go through, and understand that some guys come at different times.
“On a given night, he’s certainly shown that he’s capable of pitching up here, but it’s a league of consistency. There aren’t many givens in this game, but as many givens as you can have...that’s why guys clamor for people with track records, because you know at some point they’re going to revert to their track record, and Brian’s trying to establish a track record.”
Asked to identify his closer, Showalter replied, “That’s like, ‘Who’s your No. 1 starter?’ The guy pitching tonight is my No. 1 starter.
“We talked a little bit with Alfredo (Simon) and we’ll see how the situations develop. I understand the rules of a save, but I also understand, more importantly, the rules of a W for the Orioles. I’m aware of what’s kind of gone on in the past and we’ll see what fluctuates, but we’re going to do what’s best for the Orioles.”
Showalter would prefer having an established closer, but he added, “The situation that we’ve been in, if someone says, ‘What’s my role?’, your role is, when the phone rings, to pick up the ball and get ready to pitch, regardless of the inning.
“In a perfect world, of course, if you’ve got the right guy, but the priority is for the Orioles are to win games, create different roles along the way. And we’ll do it.”
Here’s the Angels lineup: