Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz said he learned of his inclusion on the American League Championship Series roster following yesterday’s workout at Camden Yards.
He never took it for granted.
Matusz was left off the Division Series roster because the Orioles didn’t need more than two left-handed relievers against the Tigers. He didn’t know whether he’d make the ALCS cut until notified by manager Buck Showalter.
“Buck pulled me into his office and said I’m going to be on the roster,” said Matusz, who held left-handed hitters to a .233 average this season and could be called upon to face Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas.
“Obviously, playing in the postseason is an exciting time, something I want to be a part of and to be a part of this bullpen that’s done such a good job all year and in the postseason. I want to be able to contribute.”
Matusz never complained about Showalter’s decision in the ALDS, but it wasn’t easy to accept. Consider that he pitched in the 2012 playoffs and posted a 1.42 ERA in the second half this season.
“Not a good feeling, but obviously just understanding the situation, they were trying to put together their best roster to win and fortunately it worked out,” Matusz said. “It’s a good situation to be a part of now and I’m happy about it.”
“We went out of our way to ask that he and T.J. came down to the bullpen with us and joined us for the games in the first round, just because that’s how much they mean to us,” O’Day said. “We’ve been through this whole season together. We have a really nice dynamic going on down there. We have a lot of fun and enjoy each other’s company.
“I know where he was that first series. I had done it before in 2011 with the Rangers. I had to watch three rounds (with an injury) and it’s tough. It really is. I felt like I was in the way. You’re not treated like it, but you just feel like you’re in the way. You do everything you can to do something, whether it’s tell funny jokes in the bullpen, which Brian’s good at, or an arm rub or something. He mixes those in, too.”
“It’s great to have him back,” O’Day added. “It’s just another late-inning high-leverage guy who’s been there before and done it.”
Matusz was reminded of Raul Ibanez’s walk-off home run against him in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS in New York. Ibanez isn’t on the Royals roster in the postseason, but the memory burns fresh.
“I try not to think about it,” Matusz said. “I try to forget about it, but that’s part of the game. You’re going to give up hits and unfortunately, sometimes they’re home runs, but it’s a learning experience. There’s some good parts of that postseason, too, and I try to remember the good moments and carry it on to this year.”