Brian Matusz didn’t face Boston last year. He’s seen them four times this year and the Red Sox are still trying to figure him out.
Tonight he gave up two runs and six hits over six innings plus one batter as the Orioles beat Boston 5-2 to start a three-game series.
The O’s improved to 8-1 in series-opening games under Buck Showalter.
Matusz is now 2-0, 2.55 on the year vs. Boston. Sox batters are hitting just .200 against him.
“It’s a tough lineup. Real tough. And I’ve been able to minimize damage and throw good games. So yeah, obviously you want to be able to pitch well against teams in your own division. It’s nice to be able to get the wins against teams like that,” Matusz, who improved to 7-12, 4.72 said.
Lefty hitters J.D. Drew and David Ortiz went 0 for 5 with a walk and five strikeouts vs. Matusz. They are a combined 0 for 14 with 12 strikeouts vs. the 23-year-old lefty.
“I’ve have good success against the lefties. Especially, Ortiz, I feel like I’ve kept him off balance really well through the whole season.”
He has as Ortiz is 0 for 9 with eight strikeouts against him.
Matusz could only watch from the bench in the seventh as Jim Johnson came on and got out a jam to preserve his then 3-2 lead.
“It was a lot of fun watching Jim Johnson come in and then Gonzo and Koji. The bullpen has been excellent and to see it end like that was a good feeling. Luke Scott and Pie tacking on a couple extra runs in the eighth, that was huge. It takes a lot of pressure off Koji right there and it was just a good all-around team win.”
The win wraps up an August where the Orioles went 17-11.
“It’s a great feeling. Guys are getting healthy and with Buck coming in, guys are playing hard. Doing the little things right. Which is real important. To start the year I felt like we were just losing by one or two runs here and there and now we are just able to do one or two things better to win ballgames.
“The pitching’s been excellent and we’ve been getting clutch hits when we need to. It’s been a good month and we are real excited about it and hopefully continue the groove we are in.”
Like the Orioles, Matusz had quite an August, pitching to an ERA of 2.43 in six starts during the month with seven walks to 26 strikeouts over 37 innings.
“We’ve been playing for a long year and to be strong at this point in the season is what you want to do. Because years to come when we are in the playoff race, this is when you want to be your strongest. Fortunately, I’ve been able to string together some good outings and stay strong. It’s a matter of staying healthy and continuing to push and work hard and finish off the year good,” Matusz said.
Matusz vs. Boston this year:
4-24 at Boston, ND: 6IP, 6H, 3R-ER, 3B, 4K.........102 pitches.
6-6 vs. Boston, ND: 5 2/3IP, 4H, 2R-ER, 4B, 7K....117 pitches.
7-4 at Boston, WP: 7IP, 2H, 0R, 3B, 8K................111 pitches.
8-31 vs. Boston, WP: 6IP, 6H, 2R-ER, 1B, 6K.........98 pitches.
TOTALS: 24 2/3IP, 18H, 7R-ER, 11B, 25K.....2-0, 2.55 ERA.