Left-hander Brian Matusz appeared to take another big step forward in his eventual return to the Orioles' rotation.
I say "appeared" because I don't have a scouting report from today's start against Lehigh Valley. But Matusz has blanked the Iron Pigs - yes, I just wrote that - on five hits over seven innings, with one walk, eight strikeouts and two hit batters.
Matusz has thrown 95 pitches, 64 for strikes. He's induced seven ground balls and three fly balls.
Matusz is locked in a duel with Lehigh Valley's Ryan Feierabend, who's shutting out the Tides on three hits over six innings.
In his previous start, Matusz held Rochester to one run and five hits over seven innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. His fastball mostly sat at 89 mph, though he hit 92 mph, according to a team official.
Matusz has allowed three earned runs or fewer in four consecutive starts covering 26 innings. And he might not be done today. I'll pass along another update and check on his velocity and command.
Update: Matusz retired the side in order in the eighth and holds a 3-0 lead. He's thrown 101 pitches, 70 for strikes. Still no runs and five hits, with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Update II: Matusz went the distance on 105 pitches, which means he had a four-pitch top of the ninth. He shut out Lehigh Valley on five hits, with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Here's the report that I received on Matusz: "Good slider today. Fastball pitched at 88-89. Top pitch 91 mph."
Matusz has allowed four earned runs in his last three starts covering 23 innings.