Brian Matusz will be back on a major league mound for the first time in six weeks tonight when he pitches at Oakland. In his last start, June 30 at home against St. Louis, he gave up eight runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Let's hope the Orioles kept Matusz in the minors long enough to get his game together. I wonder if they did. I was kind of expecting to see Matusz stay with Triple-A Norfolk until the Tides season ended in early September.
Had the Orioles chose, they could have had Matusz make four or five more starts in the minors to improve and fine tune his stuff.
I am hoping after tonight, we have no reason to question the decision to bring Matusz back now. He has pitched well recently in the minors and is coming off a complete-game, five-hit shutout from last Thursday.
Matusz went 2-3 with an ERA of 3.62 over eight Triple-A starts. But he gave up just one run in 16 innings in his last two outings and just four earned runs on 16 hits over 23 innings in his last three Norfolk starts for an ERA of 1.57 in that stretch.
Matusz's recent performance has seemed to quiet talk about him being hurt and hiding the injury and also talk that the Orioles should have shut him down.
I am sure a lot of fans will be closely monitoring Matusz's fastball velocity tonight, since it was clearly down when last we saw him. But to me, how he commands his other pitches will be at least as important.
For sure his velocity was off when he was last in Baltimore. But so was the crispness and command of his secondary pitches. Matusz is no flame thrower. He is a pitcher that won late last year because he has an excellent four-pitch assortment that he usually commands and controls very well.
I'll be looking to see how the curve and change look tonight every bit as much as his fastball.
By the way, as you keep one eye on the game tonight, tune into my radio show later tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore. You can listen live on the internet by going here.
I will take plenty of time to review the Orioles draft and the busy last 24 hours. Plus, scouting director Joe Jordan will join me for a live interview and we may have another guest or two worth a listen.