Matusz back on the mound tonight for the Orioles

When Brian Matusz throws his first few pitches tonight, most of us will turn our attention to the radar gun to check out his velocity.

But, just as important for Matusz will be his command and control of his other pitches. All four of his pitches have been finding too much of the middle of the plate recently, as he has given up 14 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings over his past three starts.

So watch Matusz’s secondary pitches tonight and how he is commanding them. It could be just as important as the fastball velocity.

Matusz gave up six runs and three homers in his last start, Saturday against Cincinnati and is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA over five starts. In his last eight starts of 2010, Matusz was 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA and he finished the season at 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA over 32 starts.

If you compare some numbers for Matusz from 2010 to this season, last year he gave up a .255 batting average against, and that figure is .330 now. Plus, he is giving up more fly balls. His ground-to-air ratio was 0.75 in 2010 and is 0.26 now.

He also is now getting hit by left-handed batters. They are 7-for-20 with three homers off him this season after batting just .218 last year with just two homers in 147 at bats.

Whether the Orioles win or lose here tonight, or get any clutch hits or not, perhaps the biggest development for the team moving forward would be the return to form of their 24-year-old left-hander.

In news from the minors, the Orioles have released three players: outfielder-first baseman Gino Moranci, lefty pitcher Chris Lamb and Corey Thomas, a former position player that was being converted to a pitcher.

Moranci is a 21-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, who was just 1-for-19 this year batting in seven Gulf Coast League games. Lamb was signed out of Australia and had pitched in just two innings this year for the GCL O’s.

Thomas was a 13th-round draft pick from 2008 and was the first baseman at Bluefield last year and hit .242. He had pitched in one game this year for the Gulf Coast team.

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