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August 12, 2011

Do you promote Brian Matusz for Tuesday's start?

Now that the Orioles have optioned Chris Tillman to Triple-A Norfolk, they have an open spot in their rotation (OK, I know you could argue there isn’t just one).

But there’s an obvious “to be announced” slot for Tuesday in Oakland. The Orioles could put Brad Bergesen, who pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief Thursday, into the rotation again. If he doesn’t pitch again this week, he’d be on regular rest.

Or they could grab someone from the minors.

And who would be on turn from Triple-A Norfolk?

Yep, lefty Brian Matusz, who threw a complete-game shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies’ top affiliate on Thursday afternoon. He is 2-3 with a 3.46 ERA in nine starts for Norfolk and has allowed four earned runs in his last 23 innings (1.57 ERA) after going 1-4 with an 8.77 ERA in six starts with the Orioles this season.

He was hitting 88 and 89 consistently with his fastball on Thursday and touched 91 mph. That’s not ideal, but it’s better than what he had registered previously this year with the Orioles.

The question today is whether you’d bring him up Tuesday and start him. Or if you think he needs to stay down, keep working on things and keep dominating so when he comes back, he returns for good.

This guy should be an important part of the team’s future. You have to handle him correctly. If he’s not ready and gets clobbered again consistently at the big-league level, he may regress further. But you also want him to get as much experience against big-league competition as possible.

One old time baseball man once told me that if you have to worry about what poor performances to do a young player’s psyche, then that young player doesn’t have what it takes mentally to stay in the big leagues for the long haul, no matter the initial outcome. Not sure I fully believe that, but it has some merit.

The Orioles have a tough call for Tuesday. I want to know what you do with Matusz this week.

Daily Think Special: Do you promote Brian Matusz for Tuesday’s start?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:06 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar
        

Comments

Bring him up

I think I have a bone of contention with Showalter now. I am not sure he has it in him to be patient with the young pitchers enough. They can't just keep getting their brains bashed in start after start, but I think with Matusz, Britton, and Matusz especially you have to have a plan with them. What was the plan with Tillman here? There was no plan. He pitched spottily in his first few outings, flashing some good stuff but losing his command, then had a good start, and then a bad one and he's done. Is that going to be the drill with Matusz too? C'mon.

And I agree with that scout only to a point. I think confidence is huge in high level sports where the margins between success and failure are so thin. That's been a big part of the Orioles' problem these last 14 years. You think Tillman isn't fried right now? You think Britton's collapse is just due to some neutral adjustment by the league? No, I think there's more to it. The only solution I can think of is to get better defense behind them, and to NOT YO-YO THEM AROUND ALL THE TIME.

Gah... frustrating team to follow, man, don't know why I do it.

I think you should keep Matusz down for the rest of the season. Unless he has 3 more quality starts in a row.... That is the only way we do not need to call him up and for him to rocked and his confidence get shattered so quickly. Let him build some confidence.


So that means I would start Bergy and keep him with that new windup... Looked like he found his sinker again.

No Dan,

I would leave him at Norfolk until he can develop consistent velocity and prove he is healthy. Unless of course Matusz wants to change his style and try to become Jamie Moyer or Mike Cuellar. With his current style 88 to 89 won't get it done against major league hitters.

Well, if you're going to give him another shot, the pitcher's palace in Oakland is ideal a place as any to do it. It would sure be nice if he could regain his 2010 form down the stretch.

That all depends on whether or not Buck thinks Matusz is ready to come out of the doghouse after causing his best friend in baseball to abruptly leave the team in early June. After all if memory serves, the club was flirting at .500 with a pitching staff that was functional.

I think that, at this point, the season is moot, and there can be no benefit to throwing our young arms back into the majors. Let him finish out where he is and continue working on his mechanics and arm strength. The constant "up and down" that has been the Orioles mantra for the last few years just has not had any positive impact on the players or the fan base...

Absolutely not, Dan brian admits that he wasn't prepared to pitch this year and that he took for granted his performance to finish last year off. He needs to completley regain confidence down in the minors and sort of send him a message that he will never forget again.Leave him down there for a while and let him earn his way back.

Negative, Ghostrider.

I'd let him stay in AAA for a while until his velocity recovers and there's no doubt he's back to the form he had. Perhaps there are a few meaningless games in September he could start?

I have to keep him down at Norfolk! Sounds like his velocity is not full tilt yet. He needs time to recovery completely..get his confidence back...bolster his psyche..start over next year. I think by that time he should be where he once was. I still think the change in pitching coaches this year, then the new pitching coach walking out on us provided a lot of confusion in the minds of our young, not yet experienced starters. I wanna know why Showalter needed to replace Kranitz... who had these starters on the ball in Aug.-Sept. of 2010. I just hope Matusz, Arrieta, Britton all recover! Add Guthrie & I still think the O's need to pick up a #1 or #2 starter this offseason...I have no confidence in Bergesen & Tillman at all..too inconsistent for too long. I Think Patton may be a starting pitcher ion Disguise ...right under our nose...give him a shot!

No. Leave Matusz at Norfolk the rest of the year. Give Jim Johnson the ball for Tuesday's start. Our young pitching prospects better get it together soon or we should look for others to take their place. At some point in time they need to step up and do the job. As a long time O's fan, I have waited long enough for a winning season and my patience is growing mighty thin. Quit babying these guys.

I have to keep him down at Norfolk! Sounds like his velocity is not full tilt yet. He needs time to recovery completely..get his confidence back...bolster his psyche..start over next year. I think by that time he should be where he once was. I still think the change in pitching coaches this year, then the new pitching coach walking out on us provided a lot of confusion in the minds of our young, not yet experienced starters. I wanna know why Showalter needed to replace Kranitz... who had these starters on the ball in Aug.-Sept. of 2010. I just hope Matusz, Arrieta, Britton all recover! Add Guthrie & I still think the O's need to pick up a #1 or #2 starter this offseason...I have no confidence in Bergesen & Tillman at all..too inconsistent for too long. I Think Patton may be a starting pitcher ion Disguise ...right under our nose...give him a shot!

Absolutely NOT.

I'd rather start Mark Hendricksen and lose the game than ping pong Matusz between Baltimore and Norfolk. Matusz needs to re-establish himself as a pitcher and bringing him to Baltimore is precisely the wrong thing to do if you want him to come back to Baltimore and stay.

No.

Let him get his velocity and his confidence back. Find someone on waivers to get battered every fifth day for the rest of this dismal season.

Leave him in Norfolk so he can continue to build off of his recent success. It sounds like his fastball is still inconsistent, and he needs more work at a lower level. If he can string together a few more consistent starts, bring him up at the end of August. Let Bergesen start for the time being and hope he can remember how to throw that sinker.

I like what blancione says in his post. I really like Matusz, but man did he let the team down this year. Maybe a September callup (once again, if there's a plan), but leave him down for now.

Hey look! Chinese characters in the verification thing: what am I supposed to do with that?

Let's leave Brian in Norfolk to finish rebuilding his entire presence. Call him up when the rosters expand. Another three quality starts and hopefully a couple of wins, will set the stage for 2012.

Let Bergesen start to close out the major league season. Bergy has had several good appearances recently.

With Arrieta, Matsuz, Hunter, Gurthie, Simon, Bergesen and maybe Johnson or Britton, the Orioles should put together a good starting rotation with some depth in long relief.

No. Let him finish the season on a high note in Norfolk.

Plus there are some service time issues that the Orioles can take advantage of in play.

No. These guys need to prove they can string together 3 or 4 starts at AAA before they get promoted.

Personally; I think Tillman has some sort of mental block. The guy is incapable of pitching well for 2 consecutive games at ANY level. It doesn't make sense!

Can we get Oakland to put "Iron Pigs" on their uniforms? That might make it easier for Matusz since he knows he has had recent success against a team with that name.

I'd say no to bringing him up now. He's on a good path now, let him continue, and he should be ready to be back (hopefully to stay) in September. Maybe someday soon he can be part of a top notch Orioles rotation but right now Guthrie, Simon, and Hunter is not reminding me of McNally, Cuellar, and Palmer.

Showalter needs to be reprimanded for replacing Kranitz with Connor just because they are long time buddies. Only to have Connor leave midway through the season. Now Adair is the 3rd pitching coach these young pitchers have had in less than a year. No wonder they are confused. They just learn one coaches methods only to have another coach change things up. Should have stuck with Kranitz - this might have been a different season? Possibly a Pittsburgh Pirate caliber turn-around? The pitchers were gelling under Kranitz.... Shame on you Buck!!!

If I'm worried about Brian's confidence then I absolutely bring him up to pitch against the As and their bottom third offense. If you wait and he has a few more fantastic starts he may be facing the Yankees or Red Sox or some other scary team instead.

H eshould stay in the minors. What has he done to deserve a promotion. He let the team down this year by his own admission. Also, if he brought up pitch him versus the team his start falls on. H ehas to pitch against the East eventually anyway. The O's baby their players and expect little of them. Wieters was the second coming and he has 39 rbi.

Leave him in AAA and earn his way back. He needs to learn you can't come into a season unprepared and hoping to get by on talent alone. This should be a learning experience for him. In addition, 88-89 MPH is not going to cut it at the major league level, as he's found out this year. If somebody has to start, give it to Patton, Hendrickson, or even leave Tillman up and see if he can replicate his performance from last week's start against Toronto.

I agree with those who say let Brain re-establish himself at Norfolk.

On another matter: How about Hardy batting clean up. He's homering every 14.91 at bats, while Reynolds homers every 15.04 and Jones every 21.38. I didn't even bother calculating Vlad's home run ratio.

If you're going to shake up the line up... really shake it up:

Adino 2B
Nick RF
Jones CF
Hardy SS
Reynolds 3B
Vlad DH
Wieters C
Davis 1B
Angle LF

DAN I never read the comments anymore most are so stupid and take off on some other crying subject.. IT is a tough call on MATUSZ you would like to reward his last performance but I WOULD RATHER SEE HIM DOMINATE CONSISTENTLY AND COME BACK WHEN HE IS READY TO STAY.. BOTH EYRE AND PATTON looked good tonight although patton got the loss with one run given up.. IF these two continue maybe sooner than later we will see J. JOHNSON in the rotation.. WE have little to lose now even if we signed BUNDY and let him throw although I am sure he isn't ready to pitch and probably won't this year if we sign him..THINGS are awful quiet on that front, even his dads not talking..

While I certainly understand the strong consensus of your respondents who want to leave Brian in AAA, probably at least for the remainder of the season, I think there's another factor to be considered -- the quality of coaching he's getting at either place. The results he produces in each outing, whether in the minors or at Camden Yards isn't the only things that builds his confidence -- it's also the constructive advice, care, and nurturing he gets from his manager and coaches. To make a good decision on Brian's future, I would hope someone would look at that very closely.

Strasburg tears his elbow to shreds, and less than a year later is hitting 99mph. Our perfectly healthy guys all lose 5 to 7mph from their fastball for no apparent reason. What gives?

Could you please tell me when was the last time an orioles pitcher had a complete game shut out. It had to be many years ago. Thank you.


..............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Brad Bergesen, May 14 this season.

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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.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

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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