Well a little cold water was thrown on the good vibes created by the three-game sweep of Minnesota with that loss to the Yankees where Brian Matusz failed to consistently find the strike zone.
It seems some fans were kind of jumping on Matusz in some of the comments we saw after last night’s game as the Yankees beat the Orioles 6-2 for the Birds’ first loss of the year.
Matusz certainly needs to pitch with better command and control. His pitches were up in the zone in the first inning and he just never seemed to settle in. He helped set up the Yankees three-run fourth with back-to-back walks with one out in the inning and O’s pitchers walked seven on the night while New York didn’t walk a single Oriole batter.
Yankee pitchers had a 10-0 strikeout-to-walks ratio last night while that ratio was 2-7 for the Orioles. Not good.
Matusz said he was a little too amped up for the game and just wasn’t attacking the zone enough. That needs to change in his upcoming starts and he does figure to get at least a few more chances. I’ll take Matt Wieters word for it that his stuff was much better than last year.
But with Tsuyoshi Wada getting closer to being added to the roster, Matusz will need to produce better results soon. Facing the Yankees right out of the box was a tough assignment and he should get a little bit of a mulligan for now. After his good spring he surely deserves more than one chance.
The Orioles starting pitching ERA went from 0.41 to 1.73 after last night. Yes, of course, you’ll take that as you would getting three out of four good starting pitching performances at any point in the season.
Wei-Yin Chen makes his major league debut tonight and now he has to face that unforgiving New York lineup. How will he do?
He was 36-30 with an ERA of 2.48 in four years in Japan with an excellent strikeout-to-walks ratio over his career there of 3.27. He walked just 1.7 batters per nine innings last season.
Will he be able to throw strikes at a similar rate against this team?
One thing that we don’t often point out about Chen is that he is just 26. He is the same age as Jake Arrieta. He was signed to a three-year contract with an option for 2015. He’s going to be here for a while.
He’ll have to try and make it in baseball’s toughest division and it all begins for him tonight.