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June 12, 2011

Post-game notes: Buck not pleased with Matusz, Reynolds' X-rays are fine

Orioles manager Buck Showalter made no effort to sugarcoat Brian Matusz's performance in the Orioles' 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays today, and he didn't commit to the young lefty making his next start.

“It’s pretty much the same as the first two outings," Showalter said. "He had a good statistical return but he just wasn’t able to defend himself today – running game and stuff-wise. We kept hoping he might find his stride a little bit, but fortunately [Alfredo] Simon was there to keep us in the game. The thing that’s frustrating is, there was a game there to be won, even after the tough start for him.”

Matusz has now made three big league starts and six rehab ones, including the two outings at extended spring training. Asked if the club should have seen improvement by now, Showalter said, "There should, there should. Yeah. He’s telling us he feels fine. Just not a whole lot coming out right now.”

Showalter was particularly peeved about Matusz's inability to hold runners. The Rays stole four bases on Matusz and catcher Craig Tatum and it should have been five had not second base umpire Jim Reynolds blown a call. This has been an issue since spring training and Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor are clearly not pleased with the attention that the young lefty is paying to the matter.

"He keeps telling us he can read them," Showalter said. "It’s been a challenge for him. Maybe we’ll be able to get his attention a little bit more.”

Matusz said after the game that he was 100 percent healthy, but the Rays certainly weren't convinced.

"I think there may be something not quite right with Matusz," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm certain he's not feeling 100 percent."

Johnny Damon, who led off the game with a homer off Matusz, also remarked that Matusz's fastball lacked its usual zip. He topped out at 88 on the stadium radar gun, but there were quite a few 86's and 87's mixed in there.

As for third baseman Mark Reynolds, he left the game with a left forearm contusion after he was drilled by Sean Rodriguez's hard grounder in the fifth. X-rays taken were negative. Reynolds will get treatment on tomorrow's off day and is hopeful of playing in Tuesday's series opener in Toronto.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:16 PM | | Comments (16)
        

Comments

Jeff once again he looks like he weighs 150 lbs soak and wet.His conditioning has to be way off. These pitchers that keep saying that they are healthy are putting the rest of the team at risk, they give them no chance of winning. The orioles have to be really worried about what is happening with him. I think some time down at Norfolk might wake him up. I haven't seen a poor all around performance out of a starter in a very long time.

Hi Jeff,

Until now I have avoided using the term "crucial" to describe an upcoming series or road trip, but this is it. The Orioles will play 9 games against the Blue Jays, the Nationals and the Pirates. These are teams that have similar records to the Orioles. The Orioles are a poor road team at 10 and 15, and this trip will not be a walk in the park. After this trip the Orioles will start to move into the toughest 6 weeks of the schedule. If the team is to avoid a 14th losing season they need to dominate the trip with at least a 6 and 3 effort. As I said before Saturday's game, the Orioles would either win the last two games against the Rays and go over .500, or start another 5 game losing streak. Right now that is even money. My guess is that the Orioles will go 4 and 6 on the trip and come home to face the Reds and the Cardinals 10 games out. I also think we will soon learn that Brian Matusz has shoulder problems. He is a shell of the pitcher that we anticipated he would be. He and Chris Tillman may soon be part of the Norfolk rotation.

Felix Pie is a great athlete but has terrible instincts for the game of baseball both offensively and defensively
and we are stuck with him as there is no help in the minor league system thanks to Andy and his nephew. I predicted a month ago that the Orioles would be 20 games out on August 1. I want to amend that prediction to between 25 to 30 games out on August 1.

Simply out, this is not a good team. It is not even an average team, and there is no help on the way from the minors. You are never as good as you look when you are winning. But if you are the Baltimore Orioles you are as bad as you look when you are losing.

Jeff,

I meant to say that I predict that the Orioles will go 4 and 5 on the road trip. Anything worse and it is going to get ugly around here.

There is obviously something physically wrong with Brian Matusz. It might not be too early to start to admit that Brian's unorthodox pitching delivery has finally caught up with him. It is possible he might never be as effective as he was as a rookie.

If his best days are behind him it is another "blow" to our teams future.

Hey Blancione, the expression, which you've butchered in 2 different blog posts, is "soaking wet." Not "soak and wet."
I get dumber reading your comments. I swear.

I came to the ballpark in a good mood because I normally really enjoy watching Brian Matusz pitch. But I saw almost none of the characteristic deception on his pitches, except for a few curveballs. His slider was limp, and his fastball was a dead duck up there. They were taking healthy hacks the whole time he was in the game. And his change-up (his most devastating out pitch when he's on) could never get established with that turkey fastball he was serving up there. And his lack of stuff so preoccupied him that he totally forgot to hold runners, and then his location abandoned him. God that was depressing. I really really hope he is not hurt, but I wouldn't be surprised. If he's not, they should consider demoting him to get his head straight and to preserve his confidence because he's going to get rocked with that kind of stuff up in the big leagues.

One cool side note from the game: they did a Down-on-the-farm piece on Dylan Bundy on the video scoreboard in the middle of the 6th inning or so, and it seemed that several players in the Orioles dugout were watching with interest.

The cavalry is here, but we're really not much better. All the talk about trading Guthrie scares me a little bit if Matusz is going to regress. At least with Guts we get a lot of quality starts, a guy who avoids the DL, and is in top condition.

Frankly, maybe it might be better to trade Matusz, Snyder and Rowell.

are you serious guys? OMG Matusz has a bad outing he will never be the same. Holy crap this guy is garbage. Oh no we messed up with this kid. for goodness sakes he is a feel pitcher, he will take a while to find the matusz he can be. You all are already to jump off the bay bridge because of one bad start. Cry me a river for goodness sakes. Fairweather fan much

Jeff,

I am not saying the O's rushed Matusz back, but after these three starts, do you think Brian would be better off pitching for the Tides for 3-5 starts? He missed a lot of time with the injury, so I think he can gain confidence and get back in rhythm at AAA. I also think Bergy did what was asked of him at AAA, so it would be nice to see if he can bring that success to the O's while Matusz gets healthy.

Jeff,

I am really having a hard time understanding the Felix Pie expirament. There are a lot of guys out there who can produce the same numbers at the plate and not make consistent mental mistakes both on the bases and in the field. And why would you not pinch-hit Reimold for Pie against a lefthander late today? Does Reimold have discipline issues or something? So confused....0 walks, 0 homers, 0 sense.

JAMES You are right on.. I am not ready to trade or throw Matusz away but, his biggest supporters have to be a little concerned at his lost velocity at this point.. They could bring bergesen up or use Simon for a few starts.. Hendrickson is finally starting to look better and could come up as the long man.. IF anyone were hitting and playing a decent OF at AA-AAA I would explore trading PIE his instincts looked better early on but now he looks as wild as 2 years ago..

The names and faces change, but in the end the team always looks the same. Erratic pitching, questionable defense, especially in crucial situations, lousy base running and no offense.
It was almost a foregone conclusion when they lost on Saturday that they would also lose on Sunday. They seem nearly incapable of losing just a single game and then coming back to win the next one, it's always a losing "streak."
Just once it would be nice if an Oriole would come off the DL or up from the minors and be a positive surprise instead of a disappointment. How many here were counting on Matusz to be a savior when he came back?
Unless things change dramatically I don't see how McPhail can possibly be brought back as GM again after 4 years of futility.

I'll be the first to admit I never paid any attention to the radar gun with Matusz prior to his three starts of 2011. Topping out at 88 MPH seems kind of low for a guy who was striking out 7.4 per nine innings at the major league level through last year.

One of my concerns heading into 2010 was having such young pitching being relied upon for so many innings. On Pete's blog at the time, I chronicled the success and fizzle of the Kiddie Korp of 1960, and was worried much the same thing could happen to the young Oriole pitchers of 50 years later.

I'm not saying that is what happened. I am not jumping off any bandwagon as such. I do have concerns his 175 innings last year are contributing to a negative effect this year, however.

As for trading players like Matusz, I am always amazed to see the topic come up when that player is at his lowest value. The Rays' players and manager are openly saying something is wrong without really knowing if something is wrong. What team would give anything of value for Matusz at thsi stage?

As for trades in general, this team has nobody who is untouchable in my opinion. Nobody. Any trade should be value for value with the Orioles better off from their end.

Meanwhile, is this situation going to put more responsibility for innings on the shoulders of Britton who is now Mautsz' age of last year?

Jeff, could you expand on your comment regarding it would get real/ugly there if the road trip did not meet expectations?/ Lineup changes,trades, callups etc


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I'm not sure what you mean. I think you are discussing Gil's post. I didn't make that comment.

First off I'm happy to read Buck made no excuses for Matusz...it truly was pathetic to watch.
He had no effect whatsoever on left handed hitters & did nothing to hold runners on. From what I saw, every out was hit hard.
I had hoped Matusz was going to be our version of Cole Hammels, instead it looks like he's our version of Nat King Cole.
However, the game that really killed us was Sat. night. I mean we fight all the way back & need only 3 outs in the 9th. & Gregg blows another.
This is what seperates us from the teams that win...you have a closer that comes in & nails it for you...1-2-3 win instead of what we end up with. I can honestly say there was a collective gasp from just about everyone where I was sitting when the call went to Gregg & unfortunately, the end result was predictable.

How many blown saves does Kevin Gregg have now? Gregg, Acardo and Gonzolas have cost us so many games this year. they all suck, Yet you never here Buck calling any of them out. Our Bullpen is by far the biggest problem with the team.
______________________________________________
Response from Steve Gould:
Gregg has four blown saves in 16 chances.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

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Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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