Since Brian Matusz shut down the Boston Red Sox on just two hits over seven scoreless innings on the fourth of July, he has made back-to-back starts where he lasted just three and 1 2/3 innings.
He has given up 10 ER over 4 2/3 in those two starts as his ERA jumped from 4.56 to 5.21.
I’m still firmly on the Matusz bandwagon, in fact I couldn’t even find the edge to jump off if I wanted to, I am so firmly on that bandwagon.
Having said that, it would silence some of the doubters a bit if he came up with a good outing tonight here at Camden Yards vs. Minnesota.
One thing that could be at work here.
Is Matusz struggling in part because of a lack of run support from his offense? Over his last ten starts, the Orioles have scored just 17 runs while he has been in the game and 23 runs over the past 15 starts.
His margin to win is small, he seldom gets a lead, or much of one, to work with.
Has that impacted his performance and is that part of the mental game he has to learn to deal with?
“I’m sure at some point those guys will be home after games and bring these things up,” O’s manager Juan Samuel said. “You wish that is not something he’s doing, but unfortunately they probably do that. You know, we just have to play a good game and score some runs for those guys.
“You’ll see on all staffs where at times, there are one or two pitchers that don’t get run support. Probably guys are aware of that and try too hard when guys are out there pitching. You see that on other staffs also.”
I asked Samuel if that is something (lack of runs) that the staff discusses with the young pitchers or do they just leave them to deal with it in their own way.
“I try not to mention that to those guys. Believe me, those guys know that,” Samuel said.
It does make me wonder. In a sport where there is a stat for seemingly everything, we can’t put a number on this. Does a lack of run support for a young pitcher like Matusz impact his pitching performance?