SARASOTA, Fla. - Brian Matusz escaped a jam in the first inning today and breezed through the second to shut out the New York Yankees in his first exhibition start of 2013.
Matusz threw 19 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes. He threw 11 pitches, seven for strikes while retiring the side in order in the second. His fastball mostly ranged from 91-93 mph.
Brett Gardner began the game by reaching on an infield hit despite first baseman Chris Davis making a diving stop. Jayson Nix followed with a single, but Matt Diaz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and Juan Rivera struck out on a 92 mph heater.
Davis made a lunging catch on the relay to retire Diaz, keeping his foot on the bag. Apparently, MASN replays showed that the ball came out of his glove - at least according to followers on Twitter. I’ll have to take their word for it.
Brian Roberts doubled with one out in the bottom of the first inning and took third base on left-hander Vidal Nuno’s balk. Nick Markakis struck out, but Adam Jones doubled to left-center field for a 1-0 lead.
Does it seem as though the Orioles are facing a lot of left-handers this week? The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting southpaw Wandy Rodriguez on Tuesday, and the Yankees (Nik Turley) and Boston Red Sox (Franklin Morales) are starting lefties in Wednesday’s split-squad games.
Matusz came back out for the second inning and retired the side on two ground balls to third and a pop up to second. He broke Dan Johnson’s bat with a 93 mph fastball on his final pitch of the afternoon.
Here’s a leftover quote from manager Buck Showalter regarding Steve Pearce, who homered off left-hander Mark Buehrle, singled and drove in three runs yesterday in Dunedin:
“You saw it yesterday. (Buehrle) tried to sneak the high fastball at eye level. He does that. He changes at eye level to change up the next pitch. Steve is a professional hitter. It’s why the Yankees had him, why the Yankees took him again and why we took him again. Stevie is a professional.
“This guy is OK at first base. That’s one of the things we talked about today inside. If you guys present yourself as multi-positional players and everything and we bring you in, you’ve got to know where to go on the relays. It’s different priorities there for guys that are backing up, those angles. You’ve got to know all those things. Stevie takes a lot of pride in knowing those things. He’s a pro.”