It’s been a bumpy ride at times this season for Orioles 23-year-old lefty Brian Matusz.
After going 5-2, 4.63 in eight starts last year, he is 4-11, 5.26 in 22 starts this season.
On July 4th, Matusz pitched seven innings of two-hit shutout ball at Boston. But then he gave up 18 ER over 13 innings in a four-start stretch.
That poor run ended when he beat the Angels Wednesday night in Buck Showalter’s second game. He gave up just one run over six innings. Tonight, he pitches here at Camden Yards vs. the first-place White Sox at 7:05.
Some have the opinion that Matusz may have three to four quality pitches, but can be hurt at times because he is lacking one dominant pitch and he doesn’t throw 95 like some other pitchers can.
I asked the O’s new manager today what he thought about that particular assessment of Matusz.
“A work in progress. It’s the sum of the parts. A body of work. You see Buehrle pitch yesterday. (Did he throw) 93, 94, no. Strengths and weaknesses, attack the strike zone.
“I started to go down there to talk to him about watching Buehrle a little bit, but he already was. He’s locked in. He’s a guy that’s going to take in what’s going on up here.
“He is what he is and I like the sum of the parts. There are some people that, if you talk to them after they drag their bat back to the dugout, might disagree with you about not having a dominant pitch.
“I certainly haven’t had the sampling you all have had. But I’m glad he’s wearing our uniform and I’m glad he’s one of us.”
Showalter was asked what Matusz might have learned watching Buehrle work.
“That more is not always better. I remember talking to Curt Shilling about the worse thing about pitching in Coors Field. It’s how it affected his next start.
“He had to torque how he threw his curve and everything was max effort. The breaking ball didn’t break as much, the dynamics of every pitch. He finally learned he didn’t always have to do that. That more wasn’t always the case.
“Plus, quit giving the opposition too much credit. Like I told Bergy the other day, I’d like to put you in their advance meeting and you’ll come out of there thinking you’re Cy Young.
“Because they are talking about all the things you can do. That they have to be aware of. You got here for a reason.”
Matusz will look to produce the O’s seventh straight quality start tonight. Over the past six games, O’s starters have worked to an ERA of 1.94.