SARASOTA, Fla. - Let’s start with left-hander Brian Matusz, who allowed three runs on six hits and struck out three over two innings.
“I felt really good,” he said. “It felt nice to be back out there on the mound and let it fly a little bit. I felt strong. Threw a lot of strikes, attacked the zone. It felt really good to be back out there.
“The Pirates executed really well and took advantage of the mistakes I made and put the ball in play. But overall I felt like I attacked the zone really well and stuck to my game plan.”
Matusz’s fastball often registered at 90-91 mph.
“I don’t know where the velocity was,” he said. “The ball felt like it was coming out of my hand pretty good for the first time out there this spring. I feel like I’m right on track where I want to be.
“I felt like my command was good, but I didn’t execute the two-strike pitches like I wanted to today. I didn’t throw the ball out of the zone like I wanted to to force them to chase. Things to work on for the next outing.”
Matusz threw mostly fastballs tonight. He didn’t break out the entire repertoire.
“I didn’t mix it up like I normally do in the past, but first time out there, I wanted to establish the fastball and get that going,” he said.
All three of Matusz’s strikeouts were looking.
“It was nice to get those strikeouts, being able to locate the fastball and paint it on the outside corner right where I wanted it,” he said. “It’s always nice to get those punch outs.”
Kevin Gregg served up a two-run homer to Matt Hague in the third inning before striking out the side.
“It was the first outing of spring training,” he said. “I was just trying to get a feel. Just getting back off the mound and throw. You don’t expect a lot out of a first outing.”
Gregg didn’t work the hitters as he normally would, especially entering a game at such an early stage.
“I hope it’s not a regular game scenario in the third inning. That’s not really where I hope to be, to be honest,” he said. “You’re just hoping to get a feel of it. I threw three pitches. ... I was just throwing strikes, getting back up there and throwing.
“I was happy with the outing. I threw strikes with all my pitches. I made some mechanical adjustments this offseason, so I’m trying to still get a feel for those things, as well. The results, you don’t want to give up runs, but overall the way the pitches came out of my hand, I liked it.”
What adjustments did he make?
“One where I’m standing on the mound, standing more near the first-base side,” he said. “It seems like a minor adjustment, but actually it’s a pretty big visual adjustment. Then, how I load on my back leg, that’s another adjustment.”
Matt Lindstrom was charged with three runs (two earned) and three hits, with one walk, in one inning.
“It’s not really an impression you’d like to make on your new club going out there and trying to give up hits,” he said. “First time under the lights, trying to work on stuff.
Lindstrom threw his slider more tonight because he’s doing a little experimenting with it to increase the velocity.
“That’s one thing I wanted to build on off of this outing, to keep the velocity up a little bit,” he said. “In years past it kind of loops out under my hand and the hitter gets a better read on it and stuff. Tonight, it was shorter, more like my fastball out of my hand, so I’m pleased with the grip that I’m using now and I look forward to keeping it going and getting it better.
“I threw it 0-2. That’s something else that has kind of been my MO in my career. My downfall is my first hitter I get a guy with two strikes and try to get my stuff even nastier and then I get in a full count and have to throw a fastball. But I threw it in some different counts, runners on base. I wasn’t really trying to work on my slide step tonight. Guys on base and stuff, my times (to the plate weren’t what they would be normally during the season. But just getting a feel for that stuff. I’m pleased with my slider tonight for sure.”
As for tonight’s game, Chris Davis just singled to scored Steve Tolleson and reduce the Pirates’ lead to 10-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Pirates scored two unearned runs off Darren O’Day in the top of the fifth.
Robert Andino and Davis have errors, and John Hester was charged with a passed ball.
Update: The Orioles lost, 10-3. The Pirates collected 18 hits and the Orioles were sloppy in the field. Not a good home debut.
Dana Eveland, Chris Tillman, Pat Neshek, Jon Link and Oliver Drake are scheduled to pitch tomorrow afternoon against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. I’m making that trip after watching Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton and Jim Johnson pitch in a simulated game at 9:45 a.m. at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Here’s what manager Buck Showalter thought of Matusz tonight:
“He was OK. It was a start. He’s only going to get better. He just needs to keep working. The first game of the spring, his first outing. He’s going to get better.
“He’s done a lot of good things, just like a lot of our guys have, in the offseason, and if it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen. He’s given himself a chance to have some success this year.”