Matusz and Jones

This afternoon, the Orioles lost to the Detroit Tigers, 6-4, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Brian Matusz – who I think has earned a spot in the rotation, and may be the 5th starter right now  – allowed three runs in the first inning; however, he settled down thereafter. Overall, he pitched five innings, walked one and struck out four.

Much has been said about Matusz’s struggles last year, but I think he has going to bounce back in a big way. I do not know if he will be an ace, or a top of the rotation guy who could anchor a staff now; however, but he is a unquestionably still part of the Orioles future.

He will be fine this season. I hope.

The story of the game was Adam Jones. I have been intrigued him this Spring Training and wonder what he can accomplish in 2012. Considering Jones is in his fifth year, and one of the big bats in the Orioles lineup, eyes will be on him.

He is not signed to a long-term deal with the Orioles, and I think this season is critical for him – and the team. So far in the exhibition season, Jones has hit four homers and has driven in 12 runs.

At this point, Jones will bat either third or cleanup when the season starts. While he has put up some impressive numbers so far, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts, improve his on-base percentage and walk more.

I do think that Jones will improve his numbers in 2012, hit for more power, and drive close to 100 runs in. He has got the ability to be a real five-tool player, but can it be harnessed?

Jones will be the man in the Baltimore lineup starting next week; therefore, he has to take his game to another level.