Manager Buck Showalter was asked what he needs to see from Brian Matusz tonight to be convinced that the left-hander is moving in the right direction.
It won’t be velocity.
“I know what everybody’s going to be looking at the first time he throws a fastball - second time, third time,” Showalter said. “I think command and his secondary pitches, so that thick or thin he’ll be able to defend himself. Going back through the tape and stuff, you see a lot of those pitches were center cut. That won’t be successful regardless of what you’re carrying fastball-wise. And that’s why, when he has both of those things going, which he’s shown us he can do, he’s a tough proposition for the opposition. I’d like to see him, regardless of what velocity there is, to still be pitching and still be able to command the other pitches.
“His work days have gone good, but they were last time, too,” Showalter said. “The proof is in the pudding. Our curiosity is going to be satisfied around 7:06-ish. We’ll find out.
“We can talk about it all we want to, but St. Louis is the one that’s going to answer those questions, not some gun reading.”
Matusz’s first three pitches - all fastballs - were clocked at 87, 85 and 88 mph. Ryan Theriot grounded the last one into left field for a single.
Update: The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Tony Cruz had an RBI single with one out, and Skip Schumaker followed with a sacrifice fly.
Adam Jones allowed Cruz to move into scoring position when he sailed a throw past the cutoff man. It didn’t cost the Orioles a run, but it was a poor decision that Showalter won’t appreciate.
Update II: Lance Berkman just hit his 19th home run, a two-run shot in the third. The ball traveled an estimated 422 feet. Cardinals 4, Orioles 0.