In game one of the series in Chicago, the Orioles scored five runs on 11 hits. They lost.
Last night they had four runs on just seven hits. They won.
Yes, it's pretty much about the pitching and almost always about the starting pitching.
Grow the arms. Produce the arms. Trade for the arms. Sign the arms. However they get them, and the O's are starting to produce some of their own, as we all know, stockpiling quality arms will be the key to future success.
When the O's went 8-1 under Buck Showalter, the starters were dealing. When they lost a few games after that, they weren't going as well.
Brian Matusz has pitched to an ERA of 2.32 over his last five starts and he is showing that he has several quality pitches in his arsenal. Just as important, he really knows how to use them.
The White Sox didn't hit many balls hard off Matusz last night because he kept them off balance all evening. It was a real impressive mix of pitches and they just never seemed to know, or be able to guess, what was coming next.
It must be a good feeling as a pitcher to have several quality choices to throw at any time.
These last two starts by Matusz vs. Texas and Chicago, two contending teams with good lineups, have shown what he is capable of. He has looked like the pitcher that was touted as a pre-season rookie of the year candidate.
When you remember that Matusz has made just eight starts in his life above the Carolina League, and that was at Bowie last year, his season looks better.
He is clearly a nugget.
Some Matusz numbers:
*Has allowed one run and eight hits in 15 innings over his last two starts.
*Is 3-1, 2.32 over his past five starts.
*Is 1-0, 1.38 in two starts this year vs. Chicago.
*Opponents batters are hitting just .239 vs. Matusz over his last five starts.
*Matusz won five games in eight starts last year and has six wins in 26 starts in 2010.
*He is now 11-14, 4.75 in 34 career starts.
*Last year he allowed a slugging percentage of .483 and that number is .415 this season.
Matusz by month:
April: 2-1, 4.40 in five starts
May: 0-4, 7.50 in five starts
June: 0-4, 3.69 in six starts
July: 1-2, 8.10 in five starts
August: 3-1, 2.32 in five starts
Plugging the broadcast: If you get a chance hope you tune into the O's radio broadcast during this road trip. I will be hosting the O's pre and post-game shows with Dave Johnson. We've been on the last two nights and will be there for the rest of this road trip. That's on 105.7 FM, the Fan in Baltimore and all the Orioles network stations in the region.