Some fans were critical when I wrote last week that Brian Matusz was doing just fine this year and that he was making progress.
I wrote that he was holding up well as a young pitcher on the team with the worst record in baseball, especially given his lack of run support and his winless streak dating to April.
Don’t worry, I won’t gloat after Matusz’s outing on Sunday at Boston, but I do think I was correct in what I wrote after his last start before Sunday’s game.
The seven-inning outing on Sunday vs. Boston was vintage Matusz. Establish his fastball and let everything else that he can throw work off that. The kid has a lot of weapons (pitches) at his disposal.
In a sport where there seems to be a stat for everything, there isn’t one for poise, savvy and smarts. Matusz would be among the league leaders in those.
I pointed out his strong stats vs. the AL East in that last article and they are only better now. Over eight starts vs. the East, he is 2-3, 2.90 on the year.
He has an ERA of 2.41 vs. the Red Sox and the Orioles are 2-1 in his three starts vs. them.
Makes one want to daydream about a future where with pitchers like Matusz, Arrieta and say Zach Britton, the O’s can actually win more than they lose vs. a team like that.
Here is the ERA of some other top pitchers vs. Boston in 2010:
3.55 - Zach Greinke
4.05 - Matt Garza
4.76 - CC Sabathia
5.03 - James Shields
5.25 - Phil Hughes
10.61 - A.J. Burnett
Last year, Matusz went 5-2 with an ERA of 4.63. This year he is 3-9, 4.56. But last year, batters hit .292 against him and now that figure is .268. Last year, the OPS vs. him was .823 and now it is .738.
The difference in record, which is a stat mostly out of a starter’s control, is run support. Last year it was 7.46 per nine innings and now is 3.40.
Matusz has pitched 100 2/3 innings at the season’s halfway point. Impressive.
It’s doubtful the club would let him pitch 200 innings this year after he threw 158 last season between the minors and majors.
It’s possible they could shut him down at some point late in the season.
This kid is pretty good. Enjoy the starts he has left the rest of this season.