If Brian Matusz pitches seven innings or more tonight, this would be the first time since 1974 that the Orioles had four starters begin the year by pitching seven or more. That year it was Jim Palmer (8 1/3), Dave McNally (10), Ross Grimsley (8 2/3) and Mike Cuellar (eight).
It didn’t look good for him to do that after the Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Matusz threw 30 pitches, but he came back with an 11-pitch top of the second.
Matusz has enough velocity tonight - hitting 91 often - but he needs to command all his pitches better than in that first frame when he got a lot of pitches up.
The Orioles tied the game at 1-1 in the second on a Matt Wieters homer to right. He hit a bomb onto the flag court on a 2-0 pitch from Ivan Nova.
The Orioles have now homered in every game this year and have six on the season. Their last five homers have been solo shots since Nick Markakis hit a two-run homer in the first inning opening day.
Some other O’s notes entering tonight:
The Orioles averaged 5.0 runs per game during their 3-0 start with a team batting average of .275 but went just 4-for-18 batting with runners in scoring position.
Their team ERA of 1.00 coming into tonight leads the major leagues. They have also allowed the fewest hits in the American League (15) and fewest earned runs (three) in baseball through Sunday.
The Birds are looking for a 4-0 start at home which would be their best at home since going 7-0 to begin the 1997 season.
Update: At 64 pitches after three innings, it looks like the 1974 O’s are safe for another year. Matusz would need to get the next 12 outs on about 40 pitches. Not likely. It was an interesting note though.
Update 2: After throwing 96 pitches through the fourth - he threw 32 in the fourth alone - Matusz won’t come close to seven. He may be out of this game when the Orioles go back in the field.
Tonight proves this is about more than velocity for Matusz. He was throwing 90, 91 all night but he just didn’t command his pitches very well at all as the O’s now trail 4-1 after 3 1/2.