On Sunday, the Orioles as we all know lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-6. The Rays easily took the three-game weekend series, using the long ball, an inside-the-park home run by Evan Longoria in the eighth and torching Oriole pitching.
In addition, the Orioles did not help out their own cause as Mark Reynolds committed two errors at third base, and Adam Jones’ misplay of Evan Longoria’s liner that led to his homer.
Baltimore’s offense did do some damage as Adam Jones and Vladimir Guerrero both homered in the first inning, plus Luke Scott had one in the eighth inning.
However, the story of the game involved starting pitcher Brian Matusz. There’s no need to beat around the bush with him – he was that dreadful on Sunday afternoon.
Matusz, who started the season on the disabled list, had two solid outings before Sunday’s game; however, his success did not come without some serious red flags. Most observed that Matusz’s velocity was down, but that being said, I – and some others – felt that at he might be able to get by with it.
That was not the case in Matusz’s third start of 2011. Aside from his stuff averaging in the mid-80’s, he got hit hard – and often.
Watching him work was pretty cringe-worthy and I’m sure many fans were asking, “What in the heck is wrong with Brian?”
Matusz allowed ten runners on base, gave up five hits, walked four and just seemed out of sorts. The southpaw only lasted 1 1/3 painful innings and apparently helped to bury his team. The Rays stole bases at will on him, he could not locate his pitches, he got hit hard, and they lacked life.
It almost looked Matusx was pitching batting practice to a Rays’ team that has been majorly pesky for the past few seasons.
Seriously, if Alfredo Simon did not come into the game to stop the bleeding, the Orioles would have been beat down pretty badly.
After the game, Matsuz said he was fine; however, Buck Showalter differed in his opinion. If you got a chance to read the Baltimore Sun this evening, even the Rays were commenting on his stuff and were befuddled.
In the end, his outing on Sunday has added a lot of concerns about his effectiveness on the mound.
The bottom line is that something looks to be wrong with Matusz. We will see what happens in the week to come.