It wasn’t difficult to figure out the reason why left-hander Brian Matusz struggled again tonight.
“He was up just about the whole outing,” manager Buck Showalter said following a 7-3 loss to the Angels before 24,296 at Camden Yards.
“Was fortunate to still be the game with those hits. They hit a lot of balls hard that found holes. We hit a lot less hard, but didn’t find holes. We made a lot of mistakes and Brian wasn’t very crisp tonight.”
Showalter allowed Matusz to come back out for the sixth. Maicer Izturis singled, Peter Bourjos homered and Matusz was done.
“We were hoping to get through the first couple of hitters and stretch it out as long as possible,” Showalter said. “Bottom line is guys are judged on runs given up. I thought he deserved the opportunity, see if he could get another inning there, especially with some of the moving parts we have going on with the bullpen and the number of days without any off-days.”
Matusz didn’t issue a walk, but that wasn’t a true indicator of his command.
“We always seem to look at walk totals to think if a guy has good command,” Showalter said. “A lot of times, guys are wild in the strike zone. Obviously, he wasn’t quite as crisp with his fastball as he has been and needs to be. It’s a lineup that matches up well with a left-hander who doesn’t have good command.”
The Orioles were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
Does the blame fall on Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson or the Orioles’ hitting funk?
“Both,” Showalter replied. “It’s like the chicken or the egg. We’ve got people out there. We did some good things to get them out there. Usually, guys that have the track record that Wilson has, there’s a reason why they’re able to make some pitches.
“It’s frustrating. We hit a couple balls right on the button in key situations. The whole idea about hitting, you keep hitting the ball firmly and they’re not going to have as much time to react. But obviously there was a lot less of that than we needed.”
Showalter reminded reporters that it’s human nature for players to press in this situation.
“That’s going to happen. Everybody’s going to press,” he said. “There’s got to be a better word for it. I think the anxiety that comes with knowing you’re better and you’re going to be better, but you want it to happen now. Everybody’s looking forward to that opportunity to be the guy, and we’re getting people out there. We just can’t deliver it right now like we have and like we will again.
“To just say somebody’s not going to press, that just happens. That’s human nature. Sometimes, you compound it. That’s been going on since this game started.”