It wasn’t that long ago - from last June 12 to this April 20 - that Matusz went 0-12 with an ERA of 11.64 and an opponent batting average against of .387 during a 13-start stretch. Yeah, that is a run of bad pitching.
Contrast that with Matusz now, when he is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.87 over his last five starts. During that time he has beaten Tampa Bay twice and Kansas City and Boston once each. Matusz is giving up a batting average of just .212 during those five starts. Nice turnaround.
Probably no one predicted this when Matusz started this year at 0-3 with an ERA of 7.98 over his first three 2012 starts. But it was in late April when Matusz’s season took a turn north. He went six innings without allowing an earned run against Toronto, and followed that up with a 6 1/3 inning start with one earned run against the Yankees.
In eight starts since those first three games, Matusz is 5-2 with an ERA of 3.33, which has dropped his ERA on the year to a season-low 4.41 going into tonight’s outing. Matusz has now recorded four consecutive quality starts and has done that in six of his past eight outings.
Then, there are some amazing Matusz stats against left-handed hitters, who are batting just .115 with an OPS of .350 against him on the year. The lefties have just four hits in their last 47 at-bats against Matusz.
He is 3-1 with an ERA of 3.58 in seven career starts against Boston, and if he can pitch the Orioles to another win tonight, they’ll have two three-game sweeps at Boston in one season for the first time ever.
Finally, here is a quick capsule summary of the Orioles draft by “Baseball America”:
The Orioles had their choice of college pitchers at the No. 4 spot but passed on Mark Appel to take Kevin Gausman. If Gausman’s breaking ball becomes more consistent, he has a chance to be better than Appel. Preps Adrian Marin (3) and Colin Poche (5) have upside but weren’t on everyone’s radar that high; Branden Kline (2), Lex Rutledge (6) and Matt Price (7) were all ace college relievers prior to 2012, and all have power breaking balls. Righty Derick Velasquez (15) is their most intriguing pick after the 10th round.