The long awaited return of Brian Matusz to the Orioles came Tuesday night. Many were intrigued at the prospect of what he could bring on the mound in his first major-league start since late June.
It’s been a long, frustrating season for him (and for us).
After his last minor league start, I was hopefully optimistic seeing what Matusz could do against the Oakland Athletics.
He was supposed to anchor a young rotation – along with Jeremy Guthrie – and help Baltimore perhaps inch close to the .500 mark; alas, everything as we all know went wrong for the young lefty and the team.
It would be safe to say that, while Matusz went over six innings, the results were mixed – at best. However, his outing was nothing short of mediocre as the Orioles lost to the Athletics, 8-4.
Matusz gave up six runs on the night and took the loss. While his stat line was not all that great, he looked good in particular spots and pitched three scoreless innings (from the fourth to the sixth and giving up four runs) before running into trouble. He left in the seven innings, allowing four runs, but got charged with two more as the bullpen allowed Oakland to add to their lead as they could not hold runners.
Matusz allowed counts to run up with select batters, and the relatively weak Oakland offense jumped on him at times; however, he had more velocity on his pitches and hung in there. That’s a good sign in comparison to what we fans saw in June.
Overall, while his start was not great last night, Matusz looked a lot better than he did the past. The Orioles are in the American League cellar; however, all will not be lost if he can figure himself out in the last seven weeks of the season.
That’s assuming he doesn’t pitch himself out of the majors again. He’s a major cog – along with most of the young pitching – with the Orioles and if improvement isn’t made, the franchise will be stuck in neutral until it happens.