I'm reminded again that young pitchers don't get stronger this time of the year. Some of them just don't tire as much.
Left-hander Brian Matusz is wide awake tonight.
Matusz is shutting out the Rays on three hits over seven innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts. He just made it look ridiculously easy in the bottom of the seventh.
One knock on Matusz has been his inability to keep his pitch count down. He's thrown 94 pitches so far, so the bullpen is getting a break.
The Orioles were kind enough to tack on three runs in the top of the seventh to give him a little bit of a cushion. Not that he needs it tonight, but the gesture is appreciated.
I mentioned earlier that Matusz had allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his last nine starts, including the "triceps contusion" game. He's scheduled to make one more start before the season ends, and there's no reason to shut him down.
Matusz is feeling great physically, and it continues to show.
Update: The Orioles are being careful with Matusz by removing him after the seventh. Rather than shut him down, they'll more closely monitor his pitch count. He certainly had another inning in him, at least, but acting manager Jeff Datz called upon Jim Johnson to pitch the eighth and Koji Uehara to finish up the ninth.
Uehara struck out the side to complete a 4-0 victory and again make us ponder whether he should be re-signed this winter.
Speaking of Datz, maybe he's the key to this resurgence since Aug. 3. Buck Showalter gets all the credit, but Datz is the man tonight and you see the results.
Seriously, though, Matusz turned in a huge start. He really played the role of stopper after the Orioles lost four in a row. The feel-good buzz was starting to wear off a little, but he manhandled a Rays team that was looking to clinch a playoff berth tonight.
Matusz has allowed seven earned runs in his last seven starts covering 40 innings - yes, including the triceps contusion game.