Last night was quite the spectacle, the Orioles and Reds combined for nine homers but the Orioles came up on the short end of the stick once again losing 10-5.
There are a couple things we need to talk about:
Brian Matusz: How freaked out should we all be?
Well, on a scale of 1-10 (One being Mr. Rogers after three cups of Sleepytime Tea and 10 being Andrew WK after 10 cups of espresso) I would say a solid five. You have to be concerned about Matusz at this point. Since coming back from injury his velocity has been way down and it hasn’t gotten better. His command has been spotty and last night he simply got torched last night, but that has been par for the course. After two encouraging starts in June against Seattle and Oakland in his last three starts he has only pitched 11.1 innings and has given up 14 ER and six homers. Last night he was torched for three, two by regining NL MVP Joey Votto who had five RBI off two completely smashed homers.
I think Orioles fans need to be a little patient with Brian. To listen to some fans talk they are already beginning to wrote Matusz off as a bust; it’s not that bad yet guys. Matusz is struggling there is no doubt about that but there is no reason to think that this is more than him struggling to get back from a nagging injury. Should he be DL’ed or sent down? According to MSNBC the Orioles have no plans to do that. He needs to work through things up here – but if things continue along these lines the Orioles will have to make a decision.
The Orioles bats: Where have you been all my life?
Last night the O’s belted out four homers. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy all had dingers. Unfortunately outside of Markakis’ bomb all of them were solo shots. Still it is good to see that the Orioles offense is starting to really come around. Jones is the clear All-Star but Hardy has been a treasure. He hit his 10th homer last night and is making a case for a nice longterm contract extension that the Orioles are reportedly working on. Nick Markakis has raised his batting average back over .270 working his way back to respectability. He is batting an eye-popping .420 over the last month with an OPS over 1.00. That is great to see from Nick, a lot of us were worried about him but it appears that he has figured out his problems and getting back to the Markakis we all know.
The crowd: How I have missed the.
Last night the Yard was packed with just under 40,000 fans and despite what the more cynical among us would say it was an overwhelming majority O’s crowd. The Reds have never been to Camden Yards before and that being the case it is more than understandable to see a nice crowd of Reds fans make their way out. My uncle works for Harborplace and he was out and about talking to the Cincy fans he saw; almost all of them were Ohio transplants that came up from Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Regardless, the Yard was packed and the crowd was more than into it. It was a feeling that I haven’t felt in that stadium in a long time and it especially felt good to see it be 90% Orioles fans instead of 70% Yankees or Red Sox fans. The Orioles put on a show the last couple of games, last night they just got out-hit.
Today the Orioles will go for the rubber-game, their fourth consecutive attempt at a rubber game in the last four series. They have lost their previous three attempts. The Orioles really need to pull one out today. It is the start of a long homestand against some very good teams and if the Birds can’t find a way to win some of these series I don’t see how they will ever dig their way out of the hole that will be created.