For Brian Matusz, it was another night like a lot of the others on Tuesday vs. Oakland.
He pitched pretty well, but not great, he got little run support and he lost.
I have heard fans term his 2010 season as "disappointing." Matusz is now 2-9, 4.90 in 16 starts this year. He is tied for the AL lead in losses.
I see Matusz's performance this year as encouraging not disappointing.
I admire the fact that the kid still has his sanity and hasn't wavered much amidst all the losing by his team and the lack of runs scored when he pitches.
That, and the fact that he hasn't had a win on his personal record in over two months. His last win was April 18 remember. He is winless over his last 13 starts.
All Matusz knows is that when he takes the mound he likely won't get a lot of runs to work with and he just needs to make some really good pitches from the first pitch of the game. Just don't let up and don't make any mistakes.
It's a little too much pressure on a young pitcher and is not the best environment for his development. But what choice does he have?
Matusz is 1-3, 3.38 in seven starts this year vs. the AL East. He is 1-6, 6.18 in all other starts. I am not sure what to make of that but since he'll make plenty of starts in the future vs. the Beasts of the East, I like his numbers within the division.
Matusz dominated in the minor leagues, going 11-2, 1.91 over 113 innings. He is now 7-11, 4.81 over 24 career big league starts.
Considering how the team is playing and scoring for him and considering how bad the team has been during those 24 starts, Matusz is pitching just fine right now.
He still has three to four plus pitches and is learning on the job in baseball's toughest division with one of baseball's worst teams.
But some fans may say, why can't Matusz be 10-2, 3.58 like Phil Hughes of the Yankees. Well, Hughes gets the most run support of any AL pitcher. He knows every time he takes the mound the runs are coming and he can afford to make a few mistakes out there.
You think that makes a difference? He also knows if they don't win the night he pitches, they will the next night when CC or A.J gets the ball.
I think if Matusz and Hughes switched places and teams this year, their statistics would be similar. Hughes has an ERA of 3.52 in five starts vs. the AL East this year and remember Matusz has an ERA of 3.38 vs. the East.
Should O's fans have a concern that Matusz will not turn out as good as he once looked?
I say no. He's still pretty good, oh by the way.